INWED 2020: A personal insight into engineering from some of our female engineers
By Kathryn Donald
23 June 2020
I have always had a fascination with how things work. This, combined with an interest in Architecture, led me to study Building Design Engineering at university. I probably knew at the time of applying that engineering was stereotypically a male profession, but that first maths class full of guys certainly cemented the notion.
In the last 16 years, since those first classes, there have been a few sexist remarks, some well-meaning, some not so, but I do not regret my decision in the least. Being an engineer offers so many opportunities, both for personal development and creativity while making a meaningful difference in a world with many wide-ranging issues.
Over the last year I have been carving out a new path in my engineering career, one that allows me to combine my loves of engineering and technology. I now lead our Digital Design Team, a group of highly talented engineers that are exploring how we can gain better outcomes for both the Practice and our clients by using technology and enhanced workflows.
While even now only 12-13% of the UK engineering population is female, our Digital Design team has four brilliant female engineers, making up a third of the team. With a forecasted shortage of engineers in the UK, we were interested to know what drew them to engineering. This is what they had to say.
What drew you to engineering?
"The subjects I enjoyed the most at school were Maths, Art and Design, alongside talking to people. Engineering allowed me to combine all these things together, applying them in different ways for different challenges and projects. The constant development in the industry was another draw and the opportunity for innovation." - Pria Lad
Why did you become an engineer?
"To me engineering is the combination of form and function, elegant solutions to practical problems. The profession attracted me because of the opportunity to combine technical understanding with aesthetic design. I share a feeling I think most engineers have that, when you put your mind to it, there is no problem that cannot be solved." - Carlotta Mirri
Why digital engineering?
"From LEGO houses in my childhood to 3D models and simulations, “virtual” buildings have always been part of my life. What amazes me the most about digital engineering is having the possibility to preview what does not yet exist, estimate its final performance and its interaction with the environment, by collecting data all in one place. Digitisation is the key to innovation, improving efficiency and developing different solutions." - Dorotea Papa
What do you enjoy most about your job?
"As an engineer with a digital design speciality, I am essentially in two roles and so can enjoy a great variety in the work I carry out each day. Additionally, I have the opportunity to work across several groups and in different design teams meaning I can interact with many dedicated, passionate and inspiring individuals." - Bianca Wilcox