Architectural Engineering Alumnus awarded CIBSE/ASHRAE Graduate of the Year



In a ceremony on 8 October, moved online due to the pandemic, Heriot-Watt alumnus Jennifer Cox was crowned ‘CIBSE / ASHRAE Graduate of the Year 2020’ in the 25th year of the prestigious competition. Jen graduated from MEng Architectural Engineering in 2018, and has since been working with leading international consultancy, AECOM.

The competition sees hundreds of entries from UK Engineering schools whittled down to a select few finalists, who undergo a series of thorough interview and presentation rounds in front of an industry jury. Jen’s excellence in mechanical and electrical engineering design, and her roles since graduation as a STEM ambassador and as general secretary of the London CIBSE YEN Committee, won her the votes of the jury against stiff competition. The first and second runners-up were graduates from Newcastle University (working with Foster and Partners) and Loughborough University (working with Mitsubishi).

Jen said: “I thoroughly enjoyed studying Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt and have continuously used the skills I learned during my time there in my career so far. My work during the 4th year design project allowed me to successfully apply what I had learned into real design projects. The community I became a part of through learning and working with the Architectural Engineering lecturing team and fellow students inspired me to become a STEM ambassador and YEN committee member, leading me to be considered for and ultimately win the CIBSE Graduate of the Year award. I’m so grateful for everyone at Heriot-Watt for all their help and support!”

Alex MacLaren, Senior Director of Studies for Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt, passed on the congratulations of all of the staff team, who are delighted to see Jen achieve this deserved accolade: “Jen was a generous, driven and engaging student who made the most of her time here at Heriot-Watt, and whom the whole staff team remember well. It is wonderful to see her succeed on the global stage.”

Mary-Ann Clarke, MCIBSE, Regional Director of AECOM and Jen’s line manager, echoed this praise: “Jennifer has achieved so much in such a short time since leaving Heriot-Watt University. She positioned herself well in the Industry by becoming a STEM ambassador and general secretary of the London CIBSE YEN Committee. She has worked hard to bring young engineers together by co-leading our St. Albans, Young Engineers Forum (YEF,) in this time of uncertainty and when social contact is at a minimum. It has been easy to mentor Jennifer as she accepts any challenge and is prepared to give her all. I am so pleased that her endeavours have paid off and she can call herself the 2020 CIBSE and ASHRAE Graduate of the Year!”  

Heriot-Watt University has achieved unparalleled success in Architectural Engineering in recent years: Prof Lynne Jack, Director of Research on our Malaysia Campus, was President of CIBSE in 2019-20, and is succeeded in the Presidency for 20-21 by Stuart MacPherson, a Heriot-Watt Alumnus, Honorary Professor and chair of the Strategic Advisory Board. In addition, Melanie Gines-Cooke, who graduated MEng Architectural Engineering last year, was awarded the Smeatonian Medal, a renowned engineering accolade, in 2019.