Imperial College London

Women of Civil Engineering: A Snapshot


Women of Civil Engineering

"What advice would you give to women starting out in civil engineering at Imperial?"

In recognition of Women@Imperial, and International Women's Day on 8th March 2020, we collected snapshots of advice from female staff and students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Catherine O'SullivanCatherine O'Sullivan

Professor of Particulate Soil Mechanics

“Working at Imperial College presents a fantastic opportunity to develop collaborations both within your own discipline and outside of it.

Take any opportunities you can to meet colleagues working in other disciplines and to listen to the scientific challenges they are exploring. Some of the most interesting science can be done at the discipline boundaries. 

Meeting new people with a new perspective helps me stay engaged, enthused and to continuously learn more."

Ana Mijic

Senior Lecturer in Urban Water Management 

"1. Don’t be afraid of changes. What you study is not necessarily completely related to what you will work on - see that as an opportunity to broaden your horizons, rather than a reason to give up the opportunity.

Ana Mijic
On the Gandak River, India

2. You cannot know if you like it until you try it. One indication that you may want to become a researcher and academic is if you can imagine enduring the hardship of trying something no one has done before and feeling of thrill when your model is finally working, even if that is just a small step towards the final solution.

3. Never, ever be unkind. Working at Imperial is hard, and you cannot do it all on your own. Be kind to people who work with and for you, and tell them when your world is falling apart. Although most of them will be men, they will have your back and you will make it through."

Louise Green Louise Green

Undergraduate Office Manager

“My advice as an administrator in the Department is to remember that some of the barriers we face in life are the ones we put there. 

Forget about gender, concentrate on being the best you can be, and enjoy your work. The rewards will follow.”

Fangce Guo Fangce Guo

Research Fellow

“The Deptartment of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Imperial is a great place to work.

As long as you are focusing on your passions and interests, everything else will follow."

Aruna Sivakumar

Senior Lecturer in Travel Behaviour and Demand

Aruna Sivakumar“Don't forget why you're here in the first place. It's the passion for your subject, and the excitement associated with solving problems that will keep you going.

All else is just a passing phase.

Much like parenthood!

And much like parenthood, again, don't let the academic career take your life over.

No matter what everyone else around you is doing. Creating the space to think, and not just 'do' at all times, is a necessary prerequisite for a stimulated intellect.

I am constantly endeavouring to follow my own advice, but I'm convinced that it's the only way to enjoy a satisfying academic career.”

He-in Cheong He-in Cheong

Research Postgraduate

"Always be willing to learn new things (such as time management if you don’t already know it) and be proactive!

Take advantage of CivSoc and other societies related to Civil Engineering, because they provide fun and impactful ways to learn and apply Civil and Environmental Engineering."


Melanie Hargreaves

Melanie Hargreaves
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


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