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TECHNOLOGY chief Diana Kennedy was today awarded an honorary degree by her alma mater, the University of Salford. 

Diana, Vice President of Strategy, Architecture and Planning at BP and an inspirational figure for girls studying for STEM subjects and careers, received the honour at the Salford Graduation Ceremonies at The Lowry, Salford Quays

A strong advocate of greater diversity in engineering and technology, Diana has been quoted as saying “Technology is far too important to be just left to the men”.

Haifa Takruri Rizk, MBE, Professor of Engineering at the University of Salford, said: “Diana is a brilliant role model as a highly-successful woman in technology and engineering who has spoken very honestly about the difficulties of working in a male-dominated environment and the skills needed for the future of a rapidly evolving industry.”

Fixing things

Diana Kennedy attended comprehensive school in Surrey and was “lucky” to be sent on a course called Women in Science and Engineering. She says she loved fixing and building things and solving problems and so engineering was a natural choice for her. 

She completed a period of work experience at GE, at Trafford Park in Manchester as part of her studies.“I was the only girl intern at that time, and the guys who worked at the factory thought, ‘she must be coming to join the HR department’. 

"I think an engineering degree is a fantastic start to any STEM career.”

After her degree in Mechanical Engineering at Salford, and a postgraduate degree in computer science, she worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Centrica as an IT consultant before joining BP where she quickly progressed and oversees all the strategy and information architecture activities across all parts of the business, in 72 countries.

Modern Muse

A Fellow of the British Computer Society, Diana was awarded the prestigious Team Leader of the Year 2014 (Everywoman in Technology), Diana has worked to encourage more young people, particularly girls to study STEM subjects. 

She was a founder of the Modern Muse project, which provides a platform to give young girls access to role models to support them on their journeys into STEM careers.

On the award, Diana said: “It is a huge honour and privilege to receive this award. Salford has always been a special place for me, and was instrumental in propelling me towards a great career in engineering, for which I am extremely grateful."

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