After my first degree I studied for an MBA and amongst other things, but I didn't get much fulfilment out of it and thought I had better go back to engineering. So after eleven years I went back to University to get my Masters in Materials Science and then my PhD.
How did you first get interested in Engineering?
When I was in primary school I really loved mathematics, I've always been a good mathematics student and when you think of engineering you think of maths. That is what aroused my interest in engineering. I would have loved to study medicine - but there wouldn't have been enough numbers for me.
Did you have any role models?
My father, he was an accountant not an engineer but he was teaching me shortcuts to sums. He taught me a lot about mathematics and made me a very fast with maths.
I have a family and children and I'm still doing engineering, and being successful at it.
What excites you about your job in the Faculty of Engineering?
You can conceptualise something, then design it, then build it and bring out something new.
What is it like being a woman in engineering?
I don't see any difference for women. Engineering is known as a mans field, I'm the only woman engineer in my family and during my first degree I was the only female in my department, but I'm used to it. I have a family and children and I'm still doing engineering, and being successful at it. I've competed with guys and sometimes I win, life is like that.
How do we encourage more women to work and study engineering?
We need to talk more and encourage girls to do it, I always love to do that. Encourage them and let them know what is possible. Whatever you you set your mind to, you can achieve it.
Whatever you set your mind to - you can achieve it.
PhD student in the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield
Dr Heather Powell
Acting Associate Dean (Academic Planning) at the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University
Dr Virginia Stovin
Reader in Urban Drainage
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