As part of International Women in Engineering Day, Fastnet – The Talent Group® is proud to shine the light on inspiring female engineers. We recently caught up with Tatiana Ryan, a project manager with a leading biopharma company, who shares with us why she became an engineer, who inspired her and why she believes engineering is a great career.
Yes, I was always interested in math, science, and chemistry. I was continuously driving my mother crazy with a new contraption I’d created or by showing her how to create a slow-burning candle from items in my chemistry play set (which she promptly prohibited!).
I always thought I would be an engineer although I often changed the type of engineer. When I was younger, I wanted to be a civil engineer like my grandfather, then later an aerospace engineer (maybe I could go to the moon!) until I settled on chemical engineering. True to form, I have kept evolving and have recently finished a Master’s in Bioengineering with a specialisation in Tissue Engineering. Engineering is like magic; it makes the impossible, possible.
My grandfather was the smartest person I knew, and I always wanted to be like him. He was a civil engineer and always told fun stories of adventures while building roads in faraway places.
What I have enjoyed the most is that AH-HA moment that comes from solving a problem. My latest achievement was to formulate a solution to transporting cells across continents at room temperature without using any harmful chemicals.
Depends on the type of engineer! There are as many varieties as there are other disciplines; there’s even law degrees that leverage engineering to contest patents. There are engineers based in a lab conducting experiments, or designing parts in a computer, or building roads in remote areas. Most people think that engineers are usually stuck in a lab and are boring but anywhere there’s a real-life problem, there usually is an engineer trying to solve it. I had a friend whose job was to design roller-coasters at Six Flags. In my field I think a regular job is a combination of lab work and computer modelling.
Once in a while you meet people who assume that you are not the lead engineer because you are a woman, but I find this happening less and less as the engineering field has a growing population of women. Another challenge is achieving a good work-life balance, but that is not specific to women.
When asked if Tatiana would recommend engineering as a career choice her answer was very insightful. “Engineering can be paired with any field and adds a level of challenge that is exciting. If anyone is interested in a specific career, I challenge them to seek out or even create a novel engineering field related to that!”.
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