By Annmarie Nicolson, design engineer at Dyson.
As a young girl, it never occurred to me that I would grow up to be an engineer. My real passion was art and design and I thought I might go into the jewellery or fashion industry. But when I started researching degrees, I came across Product Design – and knew straight away that was the path for me. The thought of creating objects that could make people’s lives a little bit better was exciting! I studied Product Design and Innovation at Strathclyde University, and spent a year at Mars Chocolate before joining Dyson as a design engineer. I work in the New Product Innovation (NPI) team, where I conceptualise and create new ideas.
On a day to day basis, I’m typically sketching out new product ideas and concepts, or solutions to existing problems. I’m constantly thinking about how things work, and how they could be better. There’s no right or wrong way to approach a problem, and that’s really liberating. The most exciting part of working in NPI is turning these 2D sketches into reality by creating visual – and working – prototypes. Using these prototypes to communicate how an idea might work or feel to use is satisfying – especially when I get to review the concepts with James Dyson.
There can be a perception that engineering is all about Maths and Physics – that it’s this cold, unfriendly, calculation-centred career. It’s enough to put anyone off, not just girls! But really, engineering is a wonderfully holistic blend of the technical and the creative. It’s all about putting theory into practice; a perfect job for anyone who likes making things.
I believe that we’ll only encourage more girls to become engineers by successfully communicating what being an engineer is really like. That’s why, whenever I can, I volunteer with the James Dyson Foundation – Dyson’s charity. Among lots of other initiatives, they go out to schools and run prototyping workshops, giving students an insight into the design process. It’s important work – and I’d like to think that meeting a real life, female engineer breaks down a few stereotypical views about what an engineer looks like.
Fellow female engineers: find ways to get out into schools and show young people that this fantastic career is not just for boys. It’s the only way things will change.
An interesting guide from Elle magazine about the feminist hashtags that matter in 2015.
Includes #SayHerName – #GirlsWithToys – #NotGuilty – #EffYourBeautyStandards – #HeforShe
Read the full story:
A Nobel laureate has apologised for any offence after he made comments about the “trouble with girls” working in science. He raised concerns about people falling in love in the labs and bursting into tears.
Read the story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33077107
Inspiring Women Campaign volunteer and TV producer Efe Ezekiel talks about her experiences of talking with girls in school and what she’s gained from it.
Many years ago I decided to dedicate my life to inspiring and igniting the passions and aspirations of all young people. One of the vehicles that has allowed me to do some of this is by being part of the Inspiring Women Campaign. Over the past year and a half, the campaign has provided me with many opportunities to live my dream and carry out my dedication to the fullest extent and impact.
One of the most memorable days was at a wonderful secondary school called St Philomena. The teacher requested that I put together a programme that addressed Leadership and Mentoring for her 6th Form girls who had just started the year and needed a bit of guidance in supporting one another as leaders and help in understanding the power of peer mentoring.
Peer mentoring can help young people realise their potential to achieve their dreams, whilst supporting one another on their quest and crucial last years at school.
Well, this was an amazing task to be apart of, as the girls were full committed, fun and engaged. We had an awesome time together. We even had a few boys who joined the session and got completely involved in all the talks and exercises.
The day had three speakers from three different industries and the teacher had made sure that we were varied in our styles and job roles. I was also able to learn a lot too from the other speakers.
However, the greatest and most profound learning’s are always from the students. They demonstrated such wisdom, determination and strength in all their work and lives. Especially today, as many young girls have immense amount of pressure in all of their lives and the most pertinent and repeated questions from all of them was ‘How do I maintain school, work, life balance….be happy and reach for my goals? Especially, when a lot of the time society/media makes you feel that this unattainable. My answer to them as a fulltime Youth Mentor and woman of life experience is to ignore the pressures of the world and go for the dreams that make you feel happy, believe in yourself and never ever give up! Many of the students promised that they would endeavour to try this philosophy and see how it goes.
Our girls all over the country are in desperate need of diverse female role models from every background, ethnicity and religion. Therefore, I am a proud to be part of this campaign and will forever be grateful for one of my best days with some of the most amazing young ladies as they transition into their womanhood.