Produced by Guest blogger
This is a guest blog from Samira, a Design & Engineering PhD student. Here she talks about what it’s like as a woman to go into the engineering sector, the career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) once she graduates and the advice she has for prospective students thinking about a career in STEM.
My name is Samira. I am in my first year of the PhD in the Design and Engineering department. I am an international student from Jordan. My research in sponsored by Zimmer and involves improving/validation the design of a sensor used during total knee replacements to help surgeons.
Challenges and overcoming them
Moving from abroad while starting this journey took some adjustment which can be challenging. However, there is a lot of support from the Doctoral College. For example, there are workshops to help cope with imposter syndrome, get-togethers for international student, various clubs for hobbies and sports, and workshops for technical skills. I am only in my first year, but I have already noticed how much I have grown in this short timeframe which makes me excited for the future.
Considering my career options
Before starting my PhD, I wanted to have a career in academia since it seemed familiar because I have been in school/university for my whole life. However, after being exposed to other career options I am keen to learn about what options are available to me in the private sector. Despite being earlier on in my program, the future is something I always keep in mind so I can look to anticipate which skills I should focus on attaining in my time here. If I am eager to get into academia I can work as a teacher’s assistant to get a feel for the position. If I’m
thinking about joining the private sector, I can get advice from professors where some have had a career in the private sector before academia. So, although graduation is not for another 2 years, the future is something I am exploring through the resources available at the university.
Globally, there are so many different opportunities for people in STEM and specifically engineering which is very exciting. In England specifically, the demand is high for engineers so finding a suitable career after graduation is easier than with some other majors.
Advice for prospective students
Some advice I would give for prospective students looking at engineering, especially women, is to explore different topics in engineering before you immediately write off the whole subject. Engineering gets a bad reputation as boring or for women, a boy’s club, which can be intimidating.
However, engineering is a widely diverse subject where essentially every topic can be seen from an engineering standpoint. For example, my undergraduate degree was in biomedical engineering where mechanical and electrical engineering were combined to explore a wide variety of topics in the medical field. This includes medical devices, prosthetics, artificial organs, tissue engineering, and so many more.
Another piece of advice is to have an idea of what kind of job you see yourself doing in the future, do you like hand-on work? do you prefer working online? – there is a way to incorporate any need into your career. Additionally, something to take into consideration is that jobs in STEM fields are in high demand which means after graduation, finding a job will be easier and full of opportunities.