Despite efforts to increase the diversity of the engineering profession, it is still male dominated. So how and why did our women engineers end up in the industry?
Today we share our women engineers’ thoughts when asked: What one thing inspired you to pursue a career in engineering or inspires you professionally every day?
Joycelyn Siew, Senior Scientist/Hydrologist
“Engineering was not my initial field of choice. What I had was a thirst to learn and an eagerness to do the best I could with whatever opportunities I had. I studied engineering 'on the side' as part of a double degree because I knew it would open up a world of opportunity. In the end, I was drawn to it by the problem-solving nature of the work and how it makes real-world impacts right where l live.”
Kirsty Barrie, Project Manager
“I thrive working in a collaborative team environment, learning from those around me, resolving issues which results in a tangible end result. This industry provides the perfect environment to achieve this feeling of accomplishment regularly.”
Susan Kizito, Senior Project Manager
“The ability to bring change that would improve the quality of life for others.”
Utkarsha Somalwar, Assistant Project Manager
“Designing change, and then seeing that change positively impact people is something that has inspired me from a young age. I have found that using my engineering background for project management in the aviation construction industry has provided amazing opportunities to deliver solutions for complex problems.”
Oriel Webster, Senior Project Manager
“My science teacher in year 10 enrolled me in a Women in Engineering weekend camp during the school holidays. I had no idea what an engineer was. After that camp, I knew I wanted to pursue a formal qualification in problem solving.”
Joanne Cunningham, General Manager - Project Management
“My uncle is an engineer and when I was 17, he was the only person I knew who really loved his work. Making a difference to people’s lives - both through the buildings and property we deliver and through the career development and growth of staff.”
Maria Petropoulou, Senior Engineer
“I was exposed to engineering from a young age as my father is a Mechanical Engineer and I always loved maths so going the engineering route was an easy choice for me. What inspires me professionally every day is the 'job satisfaction': knowing that I did a good job and contributed in the successful delivery of a project. Seeing the completed project always brings a smile to my face.”
Michelle Mabbitt, Senior Engineering Technician
“I started my career in structural engineering by accident. It was a choice between design college/university or a job and debt of university fees that had just come in. I opted for an apprentice position and gained a career where I am always learning. I like to challenge myself and even after 22 years I am thinking of furthering myself by undertaking a further education course. Every day is different. The projects. The people. The Engineering Team. The challenges. The discussions. The satisfaction of problem solving.”
Kerstin Hucknall, Project Planner
“My father worked as a civil engineer and my mother as an engineering technician. So I have always been exposed to engineering from a young age. These days I particularly enjoy working in a certainly very challenging but also very professional environment. The way that we as a team, whether only internally or externally with all stakeholders, openly approach problems, analyse and break them down, listen to each other’s suggestions, find the best solution forward and as a result achieve the desired output, I personally find very rewarding.”
Angharad Llewellyn, Project Manager
“I was pretty interested in science and studied maths and science at school. At the time I was entering university, the option to study a degree in science or medicine was a popular choice. I didn’t really know much about the engineering field or really considered pursing it at university. I decided to combine a degree in science with engineering and give it a go. In my first semester, I did a project with Engineers Without Borders and loved the humanitarian work that this involved; from this I was hooked. I really enjoy delivering projects that benefit people and organisations and this is what inspires me professionally.”
Natalie Weiershausen, Project Manager
“I love that every day I drive by projects I’ve worked on and seeing the people actually using them.”
Sitara Baboolal, Ocean Engineer
“Curiosity inspired me to be an engineer: the need to know how and why things work the way they do. I am a sucker for finding an answer to a complicated question. What inspires me professionally every day is the work I do to provide scientific answers to questions that have the ability to change the way decisions are made in the industry as well as provide information to help formulate better questions when it comes to environmental protection.”
Kelly Knee, Executive Director - Ocean Science
“I was 16 when the North Cape oil spill happened off the south shore of Rhode Island. There was little I could do to help then so I decided to go into environmental engineering. I continue to be inspired by my colleagues at RPS every day; we really do solve problems that matter.”
Feeling inspired? Check out our careers page to see all our current job opportunities.
Read our introduction to our amazing series Celebrating International Women in Engineering which we are running all this week, recognising International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June.