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Insights

Dawn Chapman: International Women in Engineering Day

Jun 23, 2020

Dawn Chapman
Insights

Dawn Chapman: International Women in Engineering Day

Jun 23, 2020

 

 

How did you become interested in engineering?

I had an amazing Chemistry teacher in High School she was the only teacher that showed us there were more jobs available to us than nursing, bank teller or shop assistant. One of her friends from university came in to school to do a talk, she was an industrial chemist working for a cosmetics company. Chemistry was my best subject and it sounded amazing that I could actual do a job like that. I eventually went into chemical engineering when I went on University visits and found that actually the parts of chemistry, maths and physics that I enjoyed were actually more Chem. Eng. related. The first time I saw a fluidised bed in the lab I was blown away (#Geek alert!).

What excites you about engineering?

Seeing a process, equipment, or a design concept you have developed actually operating was the reason I got excited about engineering and still excites me now.

What have you seen change for women in engineering throughout your career?

I think the changes are the same that have happened in society for instance when I tell the younger female engineers about my first job and being invited to sit an operator’s knee on entering the control room to carry out process checks they look at me in horror not believing that anything like could actual happen. It is progress that they have never had to experience anything like that. There are also a lot more women in senior positions than when I first started though there is still a long way to go. I am pretty sure if you did a survey of men and women in senior positions a much larger percentage of the men would have children. Full equality should mean that a woman with children has an equal chance of progressing as a man with children.

What is the most fascinating part of your job or daily routine?

I actually enjoy researching equipment and interacting with vendors especially learning how equipment I haven’t seen before works. 

What advice would you like to share with future women engineers?

Believe in yourself don’t be afraid to go after an opportunity even if few women have done it.
 

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