Graduate Systems Engineer, Northrop Grumman UK 

How I came to STEM

Whilst growing up, I always found myself gravitating towards maths and the sciences.

With mathematics in particular, I really enjoyed the capabilities numbers had in solving real life problems. One of the most fundamental experiences for me that shaped my eventual career path occurred in secondary school, where I went on a school trip to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), who were hosting an event to encourage secondary school girls to study STEM subjects post-GCSE.

Whilst attending, I met a female engineer who worked for Ford at the time, and when speaking to her I could see in her expressions and body language how much she enjoyed her job.

Then I started noticing the similarities we both had, she too had a flair for maths and the sciences growing up, just like I did.

After doing my own thorough research, I came to learn that STEM subjects have played a quintessential role in the developments in technology and infrastructure in both the modern and ancient world, and have shaped our way of life in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Career in engineering

It was then that I decided to pursue a career in engineering; having developed a strong passion for maths and science, and I wanted to end up in an industry where I can do my part in making the world a better place. 

I went on to study Mechanical Engineering at University of Leicester, and then I studied Oil and Gas Engineering at Postgraduate level with Brunel University London.

Once I completed my studies, my first job in the engineering sector was as a Trainee Quality Engineer at a precision engineering company who make parts predominantly for the Aerospace industry.

I worked as a Trainee Quality Engineer for a year, after which I had the opportunity to join Northrop Grumman UK as a Graduate Systems Engineer. 

Why I love what I do

I love being an engineer as I get to work on projects where I can tap into my creative side, but also use my strong analytical skills to address issues in the real world.

As a Systems Engineer, I have the opportunity to interact with all engineering disciplines working on the project, be they Hardware, Software, Safety, and more, whilst also being the main point of contact with the end customer.

I thoroughly enjoy these aspects of being a Systems Engineer, as I am exposed to the work other disciplines do, and have the opportunity to constantly learn new skills and viewpoints from other disciplines and ultimately become a well-rounded professional from both a technical and interpersonal standpoint. 

Working in the defence industry exposes me to state-of-the-art technologies, where some are not available in the commercial world. Being able to witness and use some of these technologies is an immense privilege that I feel incredibly lucky for, as I know only a few people around the world get this opportunity. 

What I’m hoping to achieve through WYPB 

I am proud that I have been able to define my own career path and become an engineer, working at one of the world’s leading defense companies.

As a woman of ethnic minority background, who was born and went to school in one of London’s most deprived boroughs, the journey has not been easy. 

Getting to where I am today has involved a constant uphill battle of combating stereotypes and proving wrong the prejudices and assumptions of others.  

My upbringing and experiences have led me to become a strong advocate for bringing DE&I into the work place, especially within the engineering industry.

Both resources and opportunities need to be available to anyone who has an interest, without being limited to a certain demographic as we still see today.  

Now that I am a member of WYPB, I want to be a voice for those afraid to break those barriers – people who know that they have a strong proficiency in STEM-related skills, but lack the confidence to truly pursue their goals because they may not see it as a worthwhile endeavour.

Role model for women engineers

I aspire to be a role model for the next generation of female engineers, encouraging them to pursue their career goals and cultivate a fierce confidence in themselves.

Additionally, I want to play a role in societal change, educating upon and thus eliminating certain prejudices, and helping people within the workplace to focus on the similar mind-sets we have rather than pay heed to differences that only run skin-deep.