Madeleine Groves

Senior Geotechnical Engineer, CGL

How I came to STEM

At school and college, I had always really enjoyed science and maths and had toyed with the idea of studying architecture or medicine, but after some work experience decided neither were for me! I chose to study Geology on a bit of a whim as it seemed to be a subject that would incorporate several sciences and involve some exciting fieldwork trips.

After completing my MSci I started working at CGL, a geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering consultancy. In my first year I was involved in a range of projects but quickly realised that I was particularly interested in the geotechnical/civil engineering side of our work.

I was quite concerned at that stage of my career that not having an engineering degree would limit how far I could progress in the sort of work I was enjoying most.

Fortunately, I’ve always had incredible support at work from my team leaders and directors, who recognised my career ambitions and gave me guidance on how I could start on a journey to become a chartered civil engineer. Through work, I got enrolled in additional Postgraduate units in Civil Engineering to help my confidence in more theoretical parts of my work and to help me meet my chartership academic requirements. Studying part-time whilst working a full-time job was quite challenging, but now I’m well on my way to becoming chartered so it was all very much worth it!

Why I love what I do

In my job I work on all stages of geotechnical projects, I plan and manage site investigations, design foundations for new structures, carry out geotechnical modelling and provide advice on how clients can mitigate geotechnical risks. After working at CGL for four years, I’m now able to take a trip up to London and on my way see a number of amazing new buildings that I have helped to develop, which I don’t think is ever going to stop exciting me!

I hadn’t known for sure that ground engineering was the career path I wanted go into whilst I was at University but am so pleased I did go into it. It provides me with challenges to keep me learning, allows me to work as part of a dynamic, problem solving team and it’s really rewarding to see projects go from site investigation all the way through to a fully functioning structure.

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

Gender inequality in STEM has a staggering impact on our society. Without diverse thinking in decision making, scientific and engineering solutions are not designed equally for everyone. I’m very excited to be joining the WYPB to play a role in addressing gender inequality in STEM and helping young women to see the incredible range of opportunities out there.

I’m passionate about helping to make careers accessible to anyone who wants to pursue them. From experience volunteering as a mentor for GCSE aged girls I know that confidence can play a huge part in what they decide they want to do in life, so it’s crucial that they see the amazing female role models out there. This is particularly key for STEM careers, where given the gender imbalance, girls are less likely to have exposure to role models without help from campaigns like WISE.

Great progress is being made, with one-million women in STEM being an incredible milestone, however there’s still a lot of work to do, particularly in my area of engineering / construction. I can’t wait to work together with the WYPB and WISE members to be part of how that progress is made.

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