Celebrating the 2023 Clark Prize Winners: Engineering Education Champions

Celebrating the 2023 Clark Prize Winners: Engineering Education Champions

As the outreach arm of the ERA Foundation, we at Born to Engineer are thrilled to highlight the accomplishments of two remarkable educators, Jenn McEwan and Isabel Culmer, recipients of the 2023 David Clark Prizes.

They have been singled out for their outstanding commitment to inspiring young minds, far beyond the standard curriculum, to envision a future in engineering.

clarkprize 2023

What is the David Clark Award?

The David Clark Prize stands as a beacon of recognition for extraordinary educators in the United Kingdom who have significantly inspired their students to consider engineering as a career. This esteemed honour celebrates the educators who have surpassed the regular teaching curriculum, consistently exposing their students to the practical aspects of real-world engineering and motivating them to envision a future in this field.

Presented annually by the ERA Foundation, the award is given to two deserving educators—one from primary schools and another from secondary schools, colleges, or University Technical Colleges. Each winner is rewarded with a personal cash prize of £3,000 and a substantial £12,000 fund for their respective schools, distributed over three years. This fund is designed to further enhance engineering education within the school, with the award recipient playing a crucial role in deciding how it’s used. In essence, the David Clark Prize underscores educators’ pivotal role in sparking interest in engineering and moulding the engineers of tomorrow in the United Kingdom.

Jenn McEwan: A Beacon of STEM Education

Jenn McEwan, a lead science teacher at Doonfoot Primary School, stands as a beacon of inspiration in STEM education. For over a decade, Jenn has engaged her students with the wonders of engineering, igniting their curiosity and creativity.

Her influence extends far beyond her primary school. As a local authority STEM Lead, Jenn covers forty-one primary schools, their associated Early Years Centres, eight secondary schools, and two Additional Support Needs Schools in South Ayrshire. In this capacity, Jenn tirelessly creates opportunities for young people to engage with and appreciate the crucial role of engineering in society.

Jenn’s dedication to promoting engineering is evident in her consistent involvement with the Primary Engineer’s Leaders Award. She has consistently involved Doonfoot Primary School students in this annual competition, celebrating multiple winners—a testament to her guidance and mentorship.

Moreover, Jenn has spearheaded numerous engineering-focused initiatives, including collaborations with the University of Strathclyde to deliver engaging STEM activities for secondary-aged pupils with significant additional needs. Her vision of increasing pupils’ science and engineering capital embodies her dedication and passion, inspiring a generation of future engineers.

Isabel Culmer: Cultivating Engineering Excellence

Isabel Culmer, a Computer Science teacher at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, is another trailblazer in the world of engineering education. Her unwavering commitment to fostering her students’ aspirations and providing them with high-quality STEM experiences has made her a pillar of the engineering community.

Isabel’s dedication shines through in her commitment to running weekly enrichment sessions, where students learn practical engineering skills and prepare for competitions. These sessions have grown from one to three classes over the last five years, a testament to the high demand and Isabel’s stellar reputation.

Moreover, Isabel has helped prepare multiple teams each year for the Engineering Education Scheme and the Student Robotics competition held by Southampton University. She aims to teach students the essence of engineering alongside valuable ‘soft’ skills such as communication, collaboration, research, planning, report writing, and presentation. Isabel’s approach to education creates young engineers who are excellent communicators, interested learners, and, ultimately, excellent humans.

Commendable Educators: Inspiring Future Engineers

Two additional educators, Caroline Maston from Lighthouse School and Hamada Mahdi from the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, received Highly Commended status. They have promoted and excited children about engineering, even in challenging circumstances.

Caroline Maston’s work in STEM and neurodiversity is genuinely remarkable. She has made it her mission to support and inspire her students, bringing subjects to life in her classroom in a way that is both engaging and accessible. Caroline’s personalised approach to teaching has fostered a love for engineering in her students and nurtured their belief in their potential.

Hamada Mahdi has been instrumental in creating an environment that fosters innovation and technical excellence among his students. He has organised several software development projects and hackathons, allowing his students to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world context, thus sparking their interest in engineering.

Both Caroline and Hamada exemplify the qualities of exceptional educators. Their dedication, creativity, and passion for engineering education have inspired their students and significantly contributed to the field. Their recognition is well-deserved, and their work inspires their continued dedication to Engineering Education.

The awards were presented to Jenn, Isabel, and their respective schools at the ERA Foundation Annual Dinner and Lecture on 13th June 2023 at the Royal Society. Certificates were awarded to all four educators, Jenn, Isabel, Caroline, and Hamada, for their hard work and dedication to engineering education.

The future of engineering is bright with teachers like these at the helm. They are educating the next generation of engineers and instilling a love for learning and a passion for problem-solving. Their dedication and creativity will undoubtedly shape the future of engineering and inspire more students to explore the world of STEM.


  • The ERA Foundation’s outreach arm, Born to Engineer, celebrates the achievements of educators Jenn McEwan and Isabel Culmer, recipients of the 2023 David Clark Prizes for their exceptional contribution to inspiring future engineers.
  • The David Clark Prize is awarded annually to two educators in the UK who go above and beyond in their curriculum to motivate their students towards a career in engineering.
  • The winners receive a personal cash prize and a significant fund for their schools to further enhance engineering education.
  • Additional educators, Caroline Maston and Hamada Mahdi, were also recognized for their work in engineering education.


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