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Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

International Women in Engineering Day 2021, 23rd June, celebrates Engineering Heroes all around the world. To mark the occasion, Dyson engineers speak about their experiences of engineering, share a peak behind the curtain of the day-to-day life of an engineer at Dyson and give their advice for the next generation of aspiring #EngineeringHeroes.

 

23 June 2021

INWED video

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2020 brought the importance of science and engineering into focus for all of us. Tracking the spread of a virus around the world, gathering data, disseminating information to a global population at home and creating new technologies to help save lives have all been made possible thanks to leaps in science and engineering.  

 

This International Women in Engineering Day, we hear from women working on these same technologies at Dyson, as well as female undergraduate engineers studying at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. A new model for higher education forged by Dyson with a greater gender balance of engineering undergraduates than the UK national average. We find out about their experiences in this field to inspire the next generation of engineering heroes. 

  • Anoushka Patel

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  • Anoushka Patel

    Undergraduate Engineer, Dyson Institute

     

    Anoushka has worked at Dyson for two years, having joined the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology as an undergraduate engineer in September 2019. Her role at the Institute has given her a unique opportunity to work within live global project teams, solving challenging problems, while simultaneously studying for an Engineering degree.

     

    She currently works in the Hair Care New Product Innovation team in a Design Engineering role helping devise the Dyson styling tools of the future.

What challenges do women face in engineering?

Imposter syndrome is something many women face. As a young female undergraduate engineer, I am regularly thrown into unfamiliar settings and new teams. Working in a male dominated field can sometimes add to this. However, I’ve learnt to adjust my perspective, and flip my personal narrative to one which is much more empowering: with a fresh pair of eyes, I am able to find new and creative ways to approach problems. 

 

What inspires you the most about engineering?

The positive impact that engineering and problem solving has on society is truly inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that I founded a non-for-profit movement, Tech Switch, supporting young people to lead with technological, ethical and financial astuteness to ensure all members of society reap the benefits of technological disruption. I’m also inspired by the design engineering mindset of rapidly learning from failures and applying them to create better products.

 

What would you say to young girls considering a career in engineering?

Being an ‘engineer’ is so much more than what media and society can mislead you into thinking. It requires creativity, empathy and divergent thinking, and it is the lively intersection of these skills that creates a successful engineer.

I would also stress the  importance of being curious and learning from the journeys of other women, and although it can be challenging, especially as the youngest or newest to a team, it is important  to reach out to form relationships with people whose journeys you can learn and grow from.

 

Who is your “engineering hero”?

My engineering hero is my maths teacher from high school, Dr Peter Secker.  He encouraged me to forge my own path and do something different to those around me, which ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue my passion for creative problem solving and join the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. He actively promoted and aspired to advance a culture of inclusion optimism in his classes, and was a genuine ally to me as an aspiring engineer.

  • Vicky Gibson-Robinson

    Engineering Manager

     

    Vicky has worked at Dyson for over nine years and currently works within Design Engineering, where she works with a team to develop Dyson’s latest air treatment technology. She joined as a graduate engineer in 2012 and has since worked on a number of products, including fine-tuning the mechanical oscillation systems of Dyson’s purifying heaters, filtration and sensor systems on purifying fans and more recently on the air inlet system and chassis components of Dyson’s ventilator.

    At school, Vicky was torn between studying maths and art, enjoying both the creativity of art, but also the logic of maths. At the age of 15, she came across the Dyson website and found that engineering was the perfect mix of creativity and logic. This inspired her to one day become an engineer at Dyson, an ambition which she eventually realised. She went on to study Product Design at Brunel University and joined Dyson upon graduating. 

  • Vicky Gibson-Robinson

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  • What challenges do women face in engineering?

    Thankfully, at Dyson, I have never felt like a “female engineer” – I am just an engineer. The lack of women in the workforce was obvious when I went to university. In fact, there were only six women in a cohort of 125 in my year group. Slowly but surely, I have seen more women entering engineering as a career at Dyson and beyond. It’s great to see this changing positively.

     

    What inspires you the most about engineering?

    Engineering is an infinite learning platform, especially at Dyson – just when you think you’ve mastered something, there is another challenge to solve. That’s really exciting and means that you can have many different “jobs” and areas of expertise in a single career.

     

    What would you say to young girls considering a career in engineering?

    Engineering is NOT people in suits doing sums and taking years to develop a small component – this is particularly true of engineering at Dyson. It’s not a dry subject that relies on theory. It’s an incredibly exciting space to work where you are solving problems practically using theory and creativity. Its a profession rooted in collaboration and getting more and diverse views is key to success. Embrace the fact that you are different as this is your greatest advantage.

     

    Who is your “engineering hero”?

    For me, my engineering hero is actually a book I read called “Women Who Fight Back”. While its not strictly about engineering, it covers the experiences of women all around the world in living in challenging environments. Their bravery and tenacity really inspired me and its a perfect illustration of the value of the problem-solving mindset that engineering helps you develop. 

  • Alethea Ho

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  • Alethea Ho

    Senior Mobile Developer

    Alethea has worked at Dyson for almost four years, having joined the Software Engineering team as a graduate at Dyson’s headquarters in Singapore in 2017. Her day-to-day role involves maintaining and adding new features and products to the Dyson Link app. She has worked on the App integration of the Dyson Lightcycle task light, the Dyson Pure Cool Humidifier purifying humidifying fan and the new User Interface for the latest generation of environmental care machines.

     

    Alethea was always inclined to build things ever since she was young and felt most satisfied whenever something she made was used by other people, which inspired her to pursue a career in engineering. She is an Electrical Engineering graduate from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). 

What challenges do women face in engineering?

As there are still too few females in engineering, we have to work against the stereotype that only men can excel in this field. So, women tend to have to work extra hard to prove that gender does not matter. I truly believe that anyone who has enough passion and inquisitiveness can excel in engineering.

 

What inspires you the most about engineering?

Knowing that what I create may benefit people every day inspires me the most when it comes to software engineering. I enjoy the challenge of solving different kinds of issues and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I manage to come up with a solution to a problem. Knowing that the solution could possibly help someone or make their life more convenient makes it even more exciting.

 

What would you say to young girls considering a career in engineering?

It’s a career worth pursuing! It’s very satisfying when you solve real problems and issues as part of your day-to-day job. Being able to be part of the process where an App gets developed from early UI/UX guidelines you helped create, or a product gets launched to the public after being manufactured from initial sketches you worked on is very satisfying too. What’s more, the future of engineering is filled with boundless possibilities – there are so many things that have not been discovered or made yet. This allows you to let your imagination run wild and create things that you think would help mankind.

 

Who is your “engineering hero”?

When I was a young girl, the inventors of Lego were my engineering heroes. I loved playing with Lego, and I was always so impressed by how its creators could imagine new things to build and the components needed to build them. More recently as a Software Developer, I would say my engineering heroes are the team behind the “TraceTogether” software – Singapore’s track and trace app that was used during the pandemic. Their application of software to solve a real problem that helped improve the lives of millions of people and potentially saved many as well was so inspiring. Their work also reflects the reasons why I was motivated to become an engineer in the first place. 

  • Gergana Tatarova

    Data Scientist

     

    Gergana started working as a Design Engineer in the innovation team for Dyson’s environmental care category almost four years ago. She then went on a nine-month secondment as a Category Intelligence Engineer supporting the South Korean and Japanese Dyson markets, which led her to a career change – she has been a Data Scientist in New Product Innovation for just over a year now.

    As a Data Scientist, she uses current available information to build models to predict the future. Her day-to-day can include researching an entirely new field of technology to better understand how to harvest data on it, putting on a detective’s hat to find good data sources to help with predictions, setting up a remote server and scheduling scripts to collect data, all the way to building interactive visualisations to communicate findings.

    Gergana excelled at maths and art in school and originally wanted to pursue architecture. Growing up as a young girl in Bulgaria, engineering was not a subject that was actively encouraged. However, she fell in love with the idea of Product Design, splitting her studies between Mechanical Engineering at Glasgow University and the Glasgow School of Art. She also studied at the Norwegian Technical University in Trondheim, Norway.

  • Mimica

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  • What are some challenges you have faced as a woman in engineering?

    I believe imposter syndrome is a lot more pronounced being a woman in a technical field. I needed a lot more reassurance from feedback or general experience to gain confidence in myself when I was growing up and starting out my studies in engineering.

     

    What inspires you the most about engineering?

    For me, it’s the fact that challenges aren’t necessarily a problem in engineering, but rather opportunities to learn and grow while coming up with ways to solve them – making the world a better place one bit at a time.

     

    What would you say to young girls considering a career in engineering?

    Believe in yourself because we need your awesome brain in this exciting field! Technical skills can be learned along the way, but if you have a passion for solving problems or finding out how and why things work the way that they do, engineering might be the right fit for you.

     

    Who is your “engineering hero”?

    My mother is my engineering hero. She is a self-taught software engineer who made me believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. This really gave a me a strong foundation for engineering, as you have to learn to be comfortable learning from failures – it is all part of the eventual journey to success.

  • SoaPen

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    James Dyson Award Engineering Heroes

    Discover the inventors behind game-changing future technology

    Read more about the James Dyson Award's inspiring past female winners this International Women in Engineering Day.

    Find out more

  • Dyson undergraduates discussing a project

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    Dyson Institute Engineering Heroes

    Online Webinar: A Day in the Life of a Dyson Institute Student

    To mark International Women in Engineering Day 2021 , join us online to find out what it’s like to be a student at the Dyson Institute, hosted by Dyson Undergraduate engineers. The event is free and focused towards inspiring young women in Years 10-13 to pursue careers in STEM. 

    View webinar

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