Women in Science and Engineering

Women in Science and Engineering

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Join the Revolution

I wanted to talk a bit about a topic, which seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind within the science and engineering sectors right now, as well as something that’s very close to my heart; the importance of getting more women into and excited about science and engineering. I recently spoke at a panel session to a group of chemistry students at the University of Southampton who were considering the next steps for their careers. I was inspired by their passion, and excited to see the next generation of innovators getting ready to step into the business community.

When I started researching for this piece, as you often do, I went straight to Google and was horrified (although to be honest, not very surprised) to find that there is even a Wikipedia page regarding the lack of women in engineering.

I’m meeting more and more bright, enthusiastic and inspirational women who are leading within these industries, and I look forward to meeting more of you. I studied chemistry at University because I had an amazing A-Level teacher who inspired me. In the UK, if you’re good at science and maths, a lot of schools encourage you to be a doctor or a dentist. This definitely wasn’t for me so I followed my passion for science with a degree in chemistry, and later, a PhD in materials science. When I finished my studies, like so many, I was a little stuck on where to go next.

I had no idea about the opportunities that engineering and the energy sector had to offer. I came across this wonderful industry by chance through a management consultancy firm full of brilliant and inspiring people. That situation has changed my life. As a result I set up my own marketing agency that works in the science, technology and energy sectors, travelled the globe and met many fantastic people along the way. Although as an industry we’re trying really hard to bridge the gender gap, I still think that the UK engineering industry is one of the best kept secrets.

If you’re considering training in science or engineering or feel like a new challenge, I wanted to share my thoughts about the opportunities that energy and engineering offer. Maybe you have some other thoughts on what makes you love the sector; feel free to leave comments and share this if you think engineering is great career choice and a good opportunity to female graduates. I certainly do.

My top 5 reasons to get involved in a science and engineering career are:

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1. Challenge

Some of the most complex problems are found in these sectors. How can we deal with corrosion in extreme environments, what does wearable technology offer to our operational efficiencies, how can we build bigger, more capable and reliable pieces of equipment. We need the brightest minds to help us.

2. People

Over the past 12 years I’ve met some fantastic people at university, through previous roles and now through my company, Emphasis. Engineers and scientists are a fantastic bunch and love the details and getting to the bottom of a problem. The industry has connected me to many very inspirational people, that I am lucky enough to now also call my friends.

3. Travel

Houston, Stavanger, Perth, Dubai, Rio… need I go on? I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world through the projects that I’ve worked on and the industry is very much a global one. It’s a great way to see the world, and I’ve always tried to make the most of it by adding holidays onto the end of work trips, or staying the weekend after a conference to see what all of these cities have to offer.

4. Remuneration

Money isn’t the only reason to choose a career but it certainly helps. Careers in the science and engineering sectors pay well and during the recent recession engineers were often still in very short supply.

5. Fun

One thing is for sure; the last 12 years have been great fun, and no two days have been the same. My days have been spent trying to solve new technical challenges, organising events in locations far and wide, developing global marketing campaigns, researching new technologies that are shaping the future of the industry and meeting the people that are trying to take us to a more sustainable energy future.

Ladies my message is clear – get involved! Come and join the revolution, we need more of you at the forefront of our industry.

 

About Jessica Rouse

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