Our Service Coordinator Laura graduated with a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering, so in celebration of this day, we asked her a few questions about her path to Engineering & experiences so far.
1. Can you give us a recap of your role at Stone Marine Shipcare?
I am the Service Coordinator at Stone Marine Shipcare. My role is office based and it allows me to use my engineering knowledge to deal with service department enquiries from vessel owners and superintendents in order to help maintain and repair various types of vessels. During my time at university, I studied a Mechanical Engineering Design module which taught me how to read engineering drawings, this aids me in my current role as I often deal with vessel manuals that include technical drawings and schematics. My degree has also aided me in my role as I studied Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics which led me to better understand of how propulsion systems operate.
2. Who inspired you to get into engineering?
I would say that my interest was sparked by my Technology and Design Teacher, Mrs McLister. She was my teacher throughout my secondary school education, and she had a way of teaching that really resonated with me. She introduced me to circuits and helped me develop my understanding of electrical engineering which I later relied on in university as I studied a module in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She also mentored me in the workshop where she gave me a great in depth understanding of materials and manufacturing processes which ended up being my favourite subject. This steered me into studying Mechanical Engineering in University as my modules included both Materials and Processes and Manufacturing Processes and Industrial Automation.
3. What made you want to do a Mechanical Engineering degree?
I was always quite good at STEM subjects in school. I am a very methodical person so Mathematics came naturally to me, so much so that my teacher picked me and 21 other students to study a further GCSE in Additional Mathematics that was aimed at older students. Physics was another subject that played a factor in my decision to study Mechanical Engineering as I found it so interesting, especially Newtons laws and applied mechanics. I think this subject helped me to determine which branch of engineering I wanted to study. I also enjoyed Technology and Design as I loved the whole process from getting given a brief, designing a product that fit the specification and then finally manufacturing the product from scratch. I always felt satisfied seeing products that I had designed come to life and I knew I was good at this subject as I received a plaque in my school’s award ceremony for coming top of my year at A level! These subjects combined naturally led me towards Mechanical Engineering and I am happy to say that I made the right degree choice.
4. How was your degree experience in a male dominated field?
At first it was quite daunting, my course was roughly a 14:1 ratio of men to women so I initially was very apprehensive. I am also a very shy person so the thought of walking into a lecture hall full of men petrified me! However, as time went on, I knew I had made the right choice in choosing to study Mechanical Engineering as it was a subject that combined all my strengths, and I genuinely enjoyed the content which I believe is an important factor because it is a very intense course, so you need to have a passion for it. I also think that due to my course being so heavily male dominated it motivated me to do better as I think subconsciously, I felt that I had something to prove, and I feel like I proved that point by graduating with a 2:1 BEng (Hons) degree.
5. Do you have any engineering heroes?
This is quite a tough question as there are so many admirable engineering heroes that have really made an impact on the world. However, if I had to pick one hero it would have to be Katherine Johnson. She paved the way for female engineers during a time where women were segregated from men, and she had a huge impact during her 33-year employment with NASA. In 1962 she helped make it possible for John Glenn onboard the Mercury vessel Friendship 7 to become the first American to orbit the Earth through her precise calculations. Likewise, she calculated the precise trajectories for the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 which was an event that went down in history as Commander Neil Armstrong who was onboard the spaceflight became the first person to walk on the moon. Women like Katherine Johnson really make me proud to be part of the female engineer society and they motivate me to want to use my engineering knowledge to make my own impact on the world.
Thanks for answering our questions Laura.