Despite improving diversity across many sectors, women remain a minority in science-related jobs. Some suggest that this imbalance is due to the long tradition of male dominance in sectors like technology and engineering, and that it will take time for the workforce to equalise. That said, there are women who have broken the mould and broken into careers in STEM (or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.) The UKRC-WISE, which provides organisation development services to help build gender equality, has unearthed just a few of these inspiring women. Here’s looking at you, ladies.
Angela Crowther: civil and architectural engineer with a passion for solving problems and buildings that move.She started out by inventing ice cream flavours. Angela graduated from the University of Bath in 2008 with an MEng in Civil and Architectural Engineering. She told Real World how her career has been shaped so far. “Throughout my degree the Royal Academy of Engineering supported me with a scholarship, which helped me pursue opportunities that might not have been open to me otherwise. I have found engineering to be a diverse field with the common theme being its ability to invoke passion. Everyone needs passion. Exploring engineering is a sure-fire way to ignite it. “Engineering is an industry overflowing with potential to drive positive change in the world. Under the guise of engineering I have spent the last few years exploring an iota of what’s out there.”
Angela’s training has taken her all over the world. “Inventing ice-cream flavours (unfortunately beer flavour proved downright disgusting) is where it all started! Soon afterwards I found myself skiing through remote France to a job soldering circuit boards for lift buttons to carry people up and down on demand. Tumbling up and down sand dunes in Wales proved a fun form of surveying education later on – which proved useful during the summer I spent stomping around now inaccessible parts of Heathrow Terminal 5. “Soon afterwards I flew to the United States and let my imagination run wild, thinking about buildings that could move.”
Angela has also spent time in Indonesia and Tokyo, and even finds her passion for dancing useful to her job. “I’m now working for a company called Expedition. We can often be seen swaying our hips to the movement of the Millennium Bridge!”
Carmen Torres-Sanchez: chemical engineer researching porous materials and lecturing at Heriot-Watt University on design and manufacture. “I received a MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Granada (Spain) in 2002. After a year working in Brussels, sitting on the executive board of the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, I decided it was time to go back to engineering and research. I completed my PhD in Mechanical Engineering and graduated in 2008 from Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh.
“I was a research fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from 2008 until 2010. Then I took up a lectureship position in Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, again in Heriot-Watt University, because good things always come back to you in life! In my job I juggle a very demanding research life with exciting teaching. Both areas push me to be imaginative, ambitious and bold. My recent research is on the manufacture of porous materials whose internal architecture can be tailored to meet specific requirements – for example, structural and biomimetic materials. Thanks to this, I’ve worked across a broad spectrum of disciplines, from bioengineering, to computer modelling, food technology and zoology.
“My teaching is equally exciting, because the nature of my field (Design and Manufacture) requires close contact with industry. I make sure my students get exposed to very hands-on activities, where they can practise the theory and learn by doing.
“I have a passion for lighthouses and get most of my work done while I’m travelling – when I have something important to write or a tight deadline, I catch a train or a plane and get everything
Building services engineer, ensuring safe air and piping for pharmaceutical factories and food and consumer production (including chocolate).
Chloe Richards is a Building Services Engineer for the Process Engineering company WSP CEL with a 1st class Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sussex University. “I design air conditioning and piped services such as steam, hot and cold water and compressed air for the pharmaceutical factories where medication is made. I ensure the environment is clean enough form medications such as flu vaccinations to be made safely, and that the vaccine is sufficiently contained not to give everyone outside the flu! I also work in the consumer and food industries, chemicals and energy. A few highlights of my career so far have been; working on the pilot plant where the official ‘Queen’s chocolate’ is made, flying to France to see chewing-gum being made, and designing the ventilation in whiskey distilleries to make sure the place doesn’t explode!
“When not busy in my day job I am also a STEM Ambassador and school governor as I love to share my passion for engineering. I also enjoy playing board games, live-actionrole- play, cooking, dancing and travelling, particularly if it includes the opportunity to ski, scuba-dive or try new food. At the moment I am also being kept busy with planning my wedding – look out for a change of name soon!”
To meet more inspirational women visit: http://www.theukrc.org/blogs/ingenious-women