International Women in Engineering Day, this year on the 23rd June 2017, is an annual celebration of the fantastic impact that women make to engineering internationally. It aims to recognise the women already working in the industry, and showcase the opportunities to future generations.
In support of this important day, Marine People and the IMarEST will be showcasing amazing international female engineers in our weekly blog. We want to demonstrate the diverse roles available within engineering, the career development opportunities, and provide some insight in to what it is like to be a female engineer in various parts of the world. We are passionate about showcasing the fabulous opportunities to women in maritime engineering, because we believe it is an exciting, varied and progressive career.
So, let us introduce this weeks featured engineer:
Maria Del Agua Sires, an Engineering Systems Specialist from Lloyd’s Register. Here is her interview.
1) How long have you been in engineering and what is your role?
It has been almost 17 years since I started studying Marine Engineering at University, which was my first direct contact with Engineering. I am currently working in the Engineering Systems Department of a Classification Society, where I do appraisal work for machinery items and systems, as well as taking part in ongoing projects, where I use my technical knowledge and background.
2) Why did you become an engineer?
As a child, I always liked maths and science; I used to question how daily objects worked, and disassemble them whenever I had the chance, just to see how they were made. Once I got the choice to choose my career, I had no doubts that it would be engineering.
What are the best parts of your role?
Learning. Engineering is so broad that you never stop learning; every day I find a challenge, an interesting concept or an innovative design that deserve all of my attention. I also appreciate being able to use my skills for other things not related to work, such as fixing my bike or a lamp at home.
3) What challenges have you encountered?
As with everything in life, there are always challenges, both technical and personal. I have had to repair engines with failures that I have never seen before, and I have had difficulties with colleagues around me, who didn’t feel that I should be doing that job. Challenges will always be there and they are part of being an Engineer; luckily, as time goes by, personal challenges do not exist anymore, and I can use my skills to face any technical challenge that come my way.
4) Why is it important to get more women in to engineering?
I think that it is important that whoever is interested in engineering, goes for it; no matter if it is a man or a woman. The world is diverse and so, all professional branches should have that mix. Everything works better when we work as a team, where each one of us gives our best.
5) What would you say to girls still in school who are thinking about engineering? How would you encourage them?
There is nothing more rewarding than to work in something that you like, and I would encourage them by saying that there is nothing to be afraid of; if you feel that you can do it, is because you can. Confidence starts with ourselves, and following your instinct will take you wherever you want to be.
6) What advice do you have for students just starting out?
I know how difficult it is to be a student, and to feel that you will never finish. I would tell them that everything that they are investing in now, will reward them in the future. It will give them the skills and tools to be able to develop themselves. Do not listen to anyone who wants to discourage you; do not give up, it will be worth it.
For more information on International Women in Engineering Day please visit http://www.inwed.org.uk/