Electrical Engineer, Arup

How I came to STEM 

Going through school, maths and science were always my favourite subjects – STEM subjects always just made sense to me, but I was never quite sure how this would translate into a career. My school suggested dentistry or medicine, but after a week of work experience watching an old lady’s tooth crumble as it was getting removed, I realised that the medical profession might not be for me! 

In my penultimate year of high school, I attended the Scottish Space School at Strathclyde University for a residential week-long summer programme where I would learn about engineering from NASA astronauts and engineers. There I attended a lecture from Heather Paul, Mechanical engineer, and NASA space suit designer – she spoke of her career journey, her persistence and determination in finally securing her dream job at NASA, and the challenges she overcame along the way. This talk opened my eyes to what a career in engineering may look like for me and made me realise that this could be an option for me too. My experience at the Scottish Space School showed me that a career in engineering could offer me a huge variety of exciting projects as well as the opportunity to make a difference by playing a part in solving today’s engineering problems. 

I went on to study Electrical and Mechanical Engineering with International study at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, spending my 4th year on international exchange at Clemson University, South Carolina. During my time at university, I was awarded the IET Power Academy Scholarship, sponsored by Rolls-Royce which allowed me to spend 4 summers gaining valuable industry experience. 

After university I went on to join Arup as an electrical engineer in the Glasgow Buildings team. I have now been with Arup for nearly 5 years. 

Why I love what I do 

As an electrical engineer working in the built environment, I love that every project comes with its own unique challenge. Solving these problems means working collaboratively with multiple other disciplines to find the right solution which fits the requirements of every design specialism.  

I particularly love working on site. During this phase of a project deadlines are tight and the construction is extremely fast paced. When problems occur during installation, it requires quick collaborative thinking to find a solution that will not compromise the design and minimise time delays. Working on site also offers an opportunity to witness the testing and commissioning of electrical systems, which is always very exciting, as this is when the design begins to come to life.  

I love that my job allows me to walk through a building upon completion and see the part that I played in realising the final output. I particularly enjoy working on the design of buildings that can be used and enjoyed by the public, taking friends and family, and explaining where the power comes from, the back-up power that’s in place, the challenging distribution routes within the building etc. – although I’m not sure they enjoy this as much as I do… 

What I’m proud of & what I’m hoping to achieve through the WYPB 

I believe that the engineering workplace must be made up of a variety of people from diverse backgrounds to deliver the most effective solution to engineering problems. It is so important that minorities in this field use our voices to show young people that STEM careers are attainable for people of all genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

I am excited to work on projects within the WISE YPB which aim to break down gender stereotypes within STEM and inspire young girls to maintain and pursue their passion for STEM subjects into a career. I believe that these gender stereotypes begin even before children go to school, and so I hope to work on projects and initiatives which target these issues and provide representation in STEM for children in minority groups as well as making STEM activities more accessible for them also. 

Ultimately, I am very proud to be an engineer and I want to use my position on the board to show young girls that a career in STEM can be for them too.