This month’s theme for the OU Students Association’s 50th celebration is all things Freshers! Something that we showcase a lot during Freshers is our clubs, so we wanted to take the time to show what amazing things our clubs are up to and how you can get involved.
A club that has recently become a society is WESOUSS, which is short for ‘Women’s Engineering Society Open University Students’ (a bit of a mouthful!).
The society was founded by Cameron Ingram and Sarah Kuklewicz as a networking and support opportunity for women and people who are/have been discriminated against as women. There was a distinct lack of support for women interested in engineering, especially those transferring from a different sector, so it is an opportunity to connect and share opportunities, knowledge and skills. The society currently has a very impressive 150 members through Facebook and other channels.
We are always expanding our reach to those who want to be involved in developing content, and for those who want to be in the wider WESOUSS network – Charlotte Turedi, club lead.
Meet the team
The committee comprises of nine members – one of them being Sarah Kuklewicz, the co-founder and Treasurer. She is currently at Level 3 on M04.
When she became frustrated about not knowing how to access specialist support for someone transferring to engineering from another career, or even really what was out there, she helped found this group as a way to make a networking space to share information and support.
Charlotte Turedi is the outgoing Chair, studying towards a BEng (also at a Level 3). She works in a non-technical field but has always enjoyed maths and science, so she took the opportunity to study on a part-time basis.
WESOUSS has been a great networking tool for Charlotte, and has also given her the opportunity to be a member on the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) University Group Board for 2021/2022.
Clare James is the outgoing Vice Chair. She has just started Level 2 of M04. She signed up for WESOUSS because she wanted to get more of the OU Women in Engineering Student Conference into her day-to-day life. Women can lift each other up in a special way, and she wants to be part of that in OU STEM!
Stephanie Spruce is the Chair for 2022/2023, currently in-between Levels 2 and 3 on the M04 Integrated Masters in Engineering, with a great passion for renewable energy and sustainability. She became interested in doing more for women in engineering, and joined WESOUSS as she believes women are under-represented and need to support each other to achieve their potential. She hopes to help WESOUSS grow, and to provide the support members need.
Patrice Belton is the former Vice President of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, OU Design and Innovation (with Business) Alumni, and an affiliated committee member. She joined the society to support it from an inclusion and representation perspective, particularly to support transitioning students in STEM.
Other committee members include Freda Matson, the events manager, Katie McCormack, the website manager, Jodi Lee, the previous Chair, and Jules Birkin, the incoming Vice Chair.
Being a distance university, it is quite difficult for us all to meet up when we are not attending a conference together. We keep in touch often through WhatsApp, our own little community, and through video calls – Charlotte Turedi, club lead.
A key event that takes place is WESOUSS’s conference. The Women in Engineering conferences which are put on by the OU are extremely informative and a great way to network with fellow students. There are a number of key speakers (who give useful tips as to how a career in engineering can pan out) and plenty of information on companies that are hiring. The OU were able to adapt in the pandemic which saw the conference becoming virtual for 2021, but WESOUSS is looking forward to being able to attend a face-to-face conference again in the future!
People can sign up to our newsletter – as a member you can find out more about the society's smaller social events, and also those put on by the WES University Group Board.
Interested in getting involved? You can find the society's contact details here.
WESOUSS looks forward to networking with you!
Conversely to the long-standing legacy of the Women in Engineering club, we have an exciting and upcoming new psychology book club: Beyond the Shelf.
The club formed with the aim of incorporating my role as a BPS Student Ambassador and BSc Forensic Psychology Student, providing a place to share suggested book lists as well as participating in discourse regarding the books that we have read; along with opportunities to review our treasured literary works that influenced our decision to study Psychology after learning about so many inspirational Psychological icons – Kelvin Connolly.
Beyond the Shelf is very new, becoming an affiliated club on 9 June 2022, yet already has 24 members on its Discord and Facebook page. One of the founding members is Kelvin Connolly, a Level 2 BSc Forensic Psychology Student who volunteers both at The Open University and the British Psychological Society in a range of roles including BPS Student Ambassador representing English Psychology Students. Kelvin and the other found members – Sarah Ormsby, Alannah Clarke, John Rumary, Guarang, Cath, Bliss Ratter, Denise Sands, Clare Emma Ann and Belinda Bennetts – are all looking forward to embarking on this exciting new club and they would love you to join them.
Interested in getting involved? You can find their contact details here.