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Celebrating Heatric Women for International Women in Engineering Day

 

Are you thinking of a career in engineering? Want to hear what is like to work as an engineer? Do you feel underrepresented?

23rd June 2022 is International Women in Engineering Day, brought to you by Women’s Engineering Society (WES). The event will celebrate its 9th year in 2022 and figures as of June 2021 show that 16.5% of engineers are women.

We asked some women in engineering at Heatric to share their stories and advice; to help you on your own engineering journey!

 

Nisha Patel, Thermal Design Engineer at Heatric (MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering, Cranfield University)

What is the best thing about working in engineering? I like to think about how systems work, how all the pieces fit together to achieve the desired result. My work gives me plenty of opportunities to solve problems and finding solutions for them.

What are some of the challenges you have faced working as a woman in Engineering? As there are less women in engineering, most of the times you are a minority..

What is one thing you would love to work on but have not had the chance to?  I would  love to work on projects that involves design of PCHEs for sustainable energy solutions.

What interesting projects have you had to work on in your careers? I find working on high pressure designs interesting as it throws extra challenges.

What one piece of advice would you give the younger women who are thinking about getting into engineering?  I would encourage anyone who is solution-driven and enjoys problem-solving to pursue a career in Engineering. Studying engineering opens up a wide range of career opportunities from the academic to industry, media and many more..

How would you like to see the future of engineering with respect to women change? Engineering is considered a male-dominated profession. I would like to see more representation of female in engineering workplaces.

Natalie Sarpong, Thermal Design Engineer at Heatric (MEng Chemical Engineering, Manchester University)

What is the best thing about working in engineering? Working on a physical problem that has tangible consequences. It is always really satisfying to come to a solution.

What are some of the challenges you have faced working as a woman in Engineering?  I believe imposter syndrome can really challenge you as a women in Engineering. You can mentally count yourself out which can impact your performance, which then further feeds the imposter syndrome. However, this is something that I actively overcome as I continue to see my value and contributions.

What is one thing you would love to work on but have not had the chance to? I think it would be exciting to work on an exchanger design for a rocket ship! It would be an interesting challenge with regards to the loads and weight constraints solutions.

What interesting projects have you had to work on in your careers?  I have been lucky to work on the CO2OLHEAT project, an EU-funded project, unlocking the potential of industrial waste heat and its transformation into electricity. The experience of being a representative for the sCO2 recuperator PCHE on an international project has been intriguing & eye opening.

What one piece of advice would you give the younger women who are thinking about getting into engineering? Do not be discouraged by the current landscape of the industry. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths and young women making the choice to become engineers is incredibly valuable. The industry will welcome you.

How would you like to see the future of engineering with respect to women change? I think it would be great to see more women in engineering at all levels of seniority, from graduates, all the way to principle level.

Diana Leon-Grist, Development and Methods Lead Manager at Heatric (Masters in Chemical Engineering from University of Surrey)

What is the best thing about working in engineering? It is to see your inventions / designs / prototypes  being used around the world

What are some of the challenges you have faced working as a woman in Engineering? The lack of belief and respect from the older generations and certain cultures, when they realise a (particularly short) woman has the brain power to do what they do.

What is one thing you would love to work on but have not had the chance to? I would love to visit/assist on an offshore Oil & Gas installation.

What interesting projects have you had to work on in your careers? I was asked to help aligned the practices of particular manufacturing process (pickle and passivation of metals) with our Brazilian subcontractors. This was challenging and a lot of fun as I had to use my intellect and skills in order to come across as an expert directing a group of. We established a good and friendly atmosphere and they treated me with a lot of respect. I also enjoyed the opportunity to spend time in beautiful Brazil.

What one piece of advice would you give the younger women who are thinking about getting into engineering? If you have the determination and academic skills to pursue a degree in Engineering you will be in for a life of opportunities and diversity in your job. Women bring a very good balance between confidence and caution.

How would you like to see the future of engineering with respect to women change? I would love to see more women persuing science and Engineering degrees in particular, so we can be seen as intelligent and capable as a norm rather than the exception. But I will also expect that a rise in numbers will give room to women to earn their positions because of their abilities, and not because of their gender.

Hibo Dualeh, Thermal Design Engineer at Heatric (MEng Sustainable Energy Engineering, Queen University London)

What is the best thing about working in engineering? Working in engineering gives me opportunities to make a real difference to the future in designing and providing equipment that will improve technologies and  will in turn ameliorate the way we live. Working in the industry teaches you to think rationally and logically and these skills are not only beneficial at work but also in any aspect of life. The other thing I value about engineering is that the way I think and solve issues are far more valuable than the way I look or what I wear. Furthermore, it provides so many opportunities in collaborating with other professionals or sectors to produce impactful work.

What are some of the challenges you have faced working as a woman in Engineering? When I first joined Meggitt as a graduate, I remember feeling intimidated by working in a male dominated field. I was one of 3 women engineers and that created a lack of confidence in my own abilities, I thought I couldn’t fit in. But because of my intellectual curiosity, I started learning more and used my knowledge to speak up and overcome potential challenges and barriers.

What is one thing you would love to work on but have not had the chance to? I have designed many exchangers to date and one thing I always wanted was to actually seeing one in service, working closely with the client at their platform to overcome any damaging systems that could impact the performance of the equipment.

What interesting projects have you had to work on in your careers? I have worked in many projects that were very interesting. I created a sheet that analyses technical data from the customer, identifies any discrepancies and indicates design features that need to be considered. I also worked on a project where I designed an exchanger with the highest pressure we worked on at the time, and it was very intriguing to deviate from common practice and be creative

What one piece of advice would you give the younger women who are thinking about getting into engineering? The one piece of advice I would give to younger women is to not be afraid to share thoughts or even concerns. If you feel discouraged by being a minority in this field, it is always encouraging to remember that the different mind-set and unique perspective that women bring are what engineering needs as a profession to progress.

How would you like to see the future of engineering with respect to women change? I am hopeful there will be more diverse set of minds in engineering. Not only do we need to see a shift in gender diversity, but this very imbalance should encourage the industry to improve certain aspects such as the flexibility of the working environment as the pandemic demonstrated the effectiveness of working remotely. Return to work programs for mothers should also be revisited as women are also raising the future minds of society.

Dorota Byatt, Quality Manager at Heatric (MSc Material Science, Cracow University of Technology)

What is the best thing about working in engineering? Exploring new possibilities for improving our technology and our product.

What are some of the challenges you have faced working as a woman in Engineering? I may be lucky but I don’t think I have faced any challenges working as a woman. The key for me is to focus on what I do and do it to the best of my abilities. My university time prepped me for working life –  when I entered the 1st year of my study there were 200 males and only 4 females. To start with it was terrifying but you had to adjust very quickly to the new environment.

What is one thing you would love to work on but have not had the chance to? I don’t think this is a case in my situation!

What interesting projects have you had to work on in your careers? Serendah & NetPower were two of the most interesting projects I worked on due to very challenging materials: Titanium and Alloy 617. I have learned a lot in very short time.

What one piece of advice would you give the younger women who are thinking about getting into engineering? Don’t be afraid, close your eyes and just do it! But don’t forget to enjoy it.

How would you like to see the future of engineering with respect to women change? Even possibilities for women to prove themselves, and levelled salaries with respect to male engineers at the same level.

Find out how you can get involved with International Women in Engineering Day here: https://www.inwed.org.uk/about/.

For more information on the CO2OLHEAT project and consortium partners, visit the project website: https://co2olheat-h2020.eu/. The CO2OLHEAT project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under GA n. 101022831.