The Department of Earth Science and Engineering (ESE) hosted a panel session on 23 June to mark International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED2021).
The event, broadcast live on Teams and available on the ESE YouTube channel, featured a mix of students, researchers and staff in ESE, to provide diverse viewpoints from women in the field – including those who have worked in industry and those who are just beginning their studies.
ESE Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr Victoria Fernandes gave a brief introduction to the event and the panellists before opening a Q&A session, featuring a combination of pre-prepared and live questions from attendees. Questions included:
- What does your day-to-day look like?
- Why did you choose this career path?
- What is the most interesting thing you have learned or done so far?
- What different careers could you pursue as an engineer?
- Is there a subject you studied in school that you thought you’d never need, but now is quite important in your degree?; and
- What message(s) would you send to your teenage self?
Perspectives from the panel
Joining Victoria (ESE Research Associate and PhD graduate) on the panel were first-year undergraduate Natasha Precious, third-year undergraduates Teigan Collins and Nicole Barnes, and postgraduate student Nihal Darraj (Petroleum Engineering MSc).
All had valuable advice for attendees; Nicole spoke of the importance of self-belief and confidence, Natasha prompted prospective students to "go with your gut" and "follow your passion", and Teigan highlighted the diverse career paths that are opened up by a degree in earth sciences: "Just because you've done a geology degree, doesn't mean you'll be a hard-rock geologist. Your options are so wide – you're not stuck on just one pathway."
Nihal, who returned to higher education following six years working in industry, urged attendees to "step out of your comfort zone, because nothing grows there. You're never too young or too old to set a goal and succeed at it."
All spoke of the opportunities they had enjoyed as a result of studying in ESE, including working on real-world research during their undergraduate studies, applying skills learnt at A-level, and experiencing things through fieldwork that had previously only been seen on paper.
View the entire panel discussion below, or on the ESE YouTube channel.
INWED offers an annual opportunity to highlight and celebrate women in engineering, raise the profiles of those in the sector, and draw attention to the amazing career opportunities available to women and girls. This year, the theme was ‘Engineering Heroes’ – those “who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution; who undertake everyday ‘heroics’ as much as emergency ones”.
We’ve put together a few videos to mark INWED2021, featuring a lab tour by PhD student Sarah Robinson, an introduction to the courses we offer in ESE, and a perspective on what life is like as an undergraduate at Imperial College London (#HerImperial) – you can watch the playlist at this link, or see Sarah's lab tour below.
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