Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day; an Electrical Engineer’s perspective

Marine People

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 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:

Charlotte Bundy, an Electrical Engineer based in Canada.  Here is her interview:

  • How long have you been in engineering and what is your role?

I have been involved in engineering since I was 13 years old.  I went to college on a release day to do an apprenticeship. I am an Electrical Engineer in a shipbuilding company based in Canada.

  • Why did you become an engineer?

I wanted to become an engineer because I enjoyed helping my father to do DIY projects around the home when I younger.  When I heard about an apprenticeship opportunity it peaked my interest, and with my fathers encouragement, I went for it and found that I really enjoyed it. My dad always kept asking what kind of engineering I wanted to do, as engineering itself is so broad that it didn’t narrow down my choices!

  • What are the best parts of your role?

My favourite part of my role is learning new things, such as various aspects of electrical engineering, different programmes to design projects (3D CAD, lighting simulations, etc.), as well seeing the end to all of your work into the final project. I feel that I am always pushing myself, as I work towards a project, as well as working within a team.

  • What challenges have you encountered?

The main challenge that I have encountered is being thrown into the deep end with a project or task.  I have had support when I needed it, but I couldn’t be baby-stepped through the work.  I would give it my best understanding, and work through challenges to get a solution, only asking for help when necessary. I also understand that when things go wrong, it isn’t bad if you’re ready to try to solve them, then with that experience you will know not to make that mistake again.

  • Why is it important to get more women in to engineering?

Engineering needs intelligent and great problem solvers, and should not be limited to half the population.  It doesn’t matter about gender when it comes to engineering, and anyone can have the skills to become an engineer. It is also important for women to become engineers, as it creates equality when it comes to career progression, which will slowly but surely close that gap between men and women in engineering.

  • What would you say to girls still in school who are thinking about engineering? How would you encourage them?

Engineering is so broad, there will always be something that you enjoy. As I went through my engineering apprenticeship, I had various work experience with different companies. I learned that I didn’t really enjoy mechanical engineering, but had a love and knack for electrical engineering. I also enjoyed construction/ design technology, and was able to combine my two interests to study Robotics; where I could create my robot and learn how to control it.

I would suggest different workshops, find what type of engineering that you enjoy, there are so many choices; electrical, mechanical, civil, naval architecture, chemical, safety, software, aerospace, biomedical, automotive, structural, architectural, computer, electronics, robotics, mechatronics, environmental, materials, agricultural, sustainability, marine, geological, you’ll find something that fits your interests.

  • 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 by themselves. Do not listen to anyone who wants to discourage you; do not give up, it will be worth it.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel very comfortable with mathematics.  Using applied mathematics works well with people who learn from results like myself, but in the engineering world, you are not expected to know mathematics perfectly or off the top of your head.  All your calculations will be referenced, and how you understand the results is what matters the most.

For more information on International Women in Engineering Day please visit http://www.inwed.org.uk/