Inspiring women in engineering

To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day 2017 we asked some of the most exceptional women in the field to tell us what inspired them to enter engineering as a career.

23rd June 2017
International Women in Engineering Day 2017

Beyonce's anthem makes it clear that it's girls who run the world, but International Women in Engineering Day celebrates the female engineers who build, design and forge it. We've asked a few amazing women in engineering why they decided to pursue it as a career and who inspires them.


Ifeyinwa Rita Kanu

Ifeyinwa Rita Kanu

Role: Director IntelliDigest Limited/PhD Researcher.

Favourite engineering marvel: The internet - it's an amazing concept that brings the world together at a click of a button. It has changed and continued to change the way we live and do things.

Reason for entering engineering: The desire to do practical things that bring about lasting solutions with a global impact.

Engineering inspiration: "The ideal engineer is a composite... He is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems."  (Nathan W. Dougherty)

Elizabeth Rickard

Elizabeth Rickard

Role: Head engineer and director at an engineering firm.

Favourite engineering marvel: The Channel Tunnel – as it took such determination and time from conception in the 1800s to its completion.

Reason for entering engineering: Because engineering changes the world we live in, shaping it for the future.

Engineering inspiration: Dorothée Pullinger who created the Galloway car, which was designed by and made for the women of the world (we still use the rear view mirror every day).

Holly Jayne Goodwin

Holly Jayne Goodwin

Role: Project Design Engineer for SP Energy Networks.

Favourite engineering marvel: Wind energy and the wind turbine, which has lots of history in Scotland.

Reason for entering engineering: I was inspired by attending the Scottish Space School and working with NASA astronauts and engineers.

Engineering inspiration: Tim Peake for inspiring a generation to become involved in STEM.

Adriana Vargas

Adriana Vargas

Role: Process Safety Engineer at Offshore Design Engineering.

Reason for entering engineering: I was good at maths and science subjects at school plus I was looking to get into a field which could offer me a promising career.

Engineering inspiration: I am greatly inspired by the engineering leaders Professor Dame Ann Dowling, Dame Sue Ion, and Dawn Bonfield MBE.

Maria Anzola

Maria Anzola

Role: Senior Engineer in the Engineering Design & Standards department within Scottish Power Energy Networks.

Favourite engineering marvel: Renewable energy engineering, and how it has been developed through time, from the water mills used to process corn, up to technologies such as solar-powered desalination plants.

Reason for entering engineering: Since I was a kid, I was always trying to find solutions to the problems I encountered, and used to love participating in technical projects related to chemistry, physics and maths. I remember I wanted to invent a 'superfast' underground tube to send food from country to country.

Engineering inspiration: My parents always told me I should use my imagination to create useful things, so I would say they were my biggest inspiration.

Chrissi McCarthy

Chrissi McCarthy

Role: Formerly a Setting Out Engineer, now working to progress women in construction through Constructing Equality Ltd.

Favourite engineering marvel: Jubilee Line Extension (London Underground). 

Reason for entering engineering: I worked on the Jubilee line Extension with my Dad when I was 13 and fell in love with the concrete, steel and atmosphere. 

Engineering inspiration: Nikola Tesla

Emma Shavick

Emma Shavick

Role: Engineering Project Leader at Proctor & Gamble.

Favourite engineering marvel: The invention of the steam engine, which in turn led to all steam-generated power.

Reason for entering engineering: I’ve always enjoyed maths and design related subjects at school, and I love solving problems and working with people!

Engineering inspiration: Since watching the film Hidden Figures recently, I’d have to say Mary Jackson who worked at NASA as a 'human computer'. She is an inspiration for all future female engineers.


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