RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AND ENGINEER. AGE 29.
What does your daily job entail?
I’d say there’s no real typical day for me. Lots of things I tend to do day-to-day include teaching undergraduates or master’s students and supervising PHDs. I have to do a lot of reading to keep up-to-date with what’s happening and often I’ll meet with other academics who are interested in sharing ideas and collaborating. I also have to go to conferences to present my work so it’s a very interesting and varied job. I love what I do because engineering is, in fact, not about the technology at all. Engineering is about the impact you can have on people’s lives.
What were you like at school?
At school I was actually a massive nerd – it was often quite difficult for me. I was the skinny, smart, spotty and frizzy-haired girl who was interested in science and physics.
Where do you find your confidence?
Finding my confidence has been quite a journey for me. I often feel like the odd one out in a room or in the workplace and what I’ve really learnt to have to do is learn to take a compliment. You have to learn to soak in the wonderful things that people are saying to you, take it on-board and use it to propel yourself forward. It’s so easy to pick up on the negatives but it’s a real skill to hear the positives.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The number one piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to network and let yourself be known to the world and the industry that you want to be a part of. And also to seek advice and mentorship. When you have a network of people who are looking out for you and mentoring you, you’re in a really strong position to get advice on where you need to go.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
I would say to my teenage self – ‘Ellie… the things that you think make you weird are actually the best things about you, they’re your greatest asset and you should never let anyone make you feel ashamed or silly for being who you are and truly following that’.
What do you still want to achieve?
Top of the list of what I still want to achieve is to learn to chill out a bit! I need to learn to make everything a little bit less stressful. I think that’s potentially quite a strong ambition which is unlikely to be achieved but it’s definitely something that I’d like to work on. I’m also quite interested in being my own boss and running my own show – that’s something that I’ll be looking to do in the coming years.