[Interview - Part 2] Inspiring Future Engineers - Andie Bejarano Carbo

Posted 8/4/2019 by Georgina Deas

In 2018, we partnered with the UK Electronics Skills Foundation, a charity that operates collaboratively with major companies, leading universities and other organisations to tackle the skills shortage in the Electronics sector. We are passionate about supporting women in STEM and for this reason, have committed to supporting the UKESF to provide training and advice to help women transition into the world of graduate employment and to be successful in the Electronics sector.

Through our partnership with the UKESF, we sponsored three female students to attend the WES Student Conference in 2018 and recently caught up with the students to find out their thoughts about the event, gender diversity in the Electronics industry and their future career plans.

 

Read [Interview - Part 1] Inspiring Future Engineers - Eve McGlynn

 

Up next in our mini-series, we’re chatting to MEng student Andie Bejarano Carbo.

 

Hi Andie! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you study?

I'm in my fourth year of MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol. I'm originally from Spain, I moved here to study because I found the course really interesting. I didn't have a background in engineering but I really enjoyed maths and physics so it was a good progression for me. With all the new technologies entering the market, I decided I would love to be involved in it.

I joined the UKESF two years ago, which has been great. I've been able to work at Dialog Semiconductor for two years, thanks to the UKESF, which I've really enjoyed. Getting industry exposure has been one of the best experiences as I've been able to build on my theoretical knowledge from university. Being part of the UKESF, I got the opportunity is that I got to go to the WES Student Conference, which was really interesting and inspiring.

 

This year's theme at the WES Conference was building sustainable cities and communities. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

I thought that theme was really interesting. It was great to hear from the guest speakers, who all had a unique point of view and all came from very different technical backgrounds; so all the presentations were really engaging. The speakers mostly spoke about urban growth and how populations and cites are getting larger, and that the way that engineers have to build cities and maintain them now has to be different. Some of the speakers spoke about changing the infrastructure of cities to help mobility. For example, optimising bus, train and underground systems to make everyone's life in cities easier, or just maintaining cities and making them more aesthetically appealing. We also need to ensure be ensuring we're not building ugly infrastructures; even if they're helpful for climate change, if they aren’t appealing people don't want to live in them. Building greener cities was a hot topic, incorporating green spaces on top of houses, or on the side of houses and things like that. The main takeaway and core idea is engineering cities in a way that adheres to UN sustainable goals but are also people-centric.

 

Did you have a favourite guest speaker?

The first speaker, Dr Weisi Guo, was great. He spoke about how engineers can collect data from social media to close the gap between experience and operations. These urban analytics will provide many of the insights we need to understand how large-scale human behaviour will drive the operations of current engineering systems and the design of future cities.

Transport for London also had an interesting presentation. That was about how the adoption of larger scale systems engineering/thinking can transform current systems, influencing the quality and safety of the natural and built environment. They spoke about dealing with complex mobility systems, as well as the introduction of driverless cars in cities and how, or if, that will be possible. 

 

Why do you think events like the WES student conference are so important for encouraging women in STEM careers?

I think it's really good just to have people talk about their jobs, and what they do on a day-to-day basis. It's great to hear from potential role models and see all the different careers you can have. As well as having the opportunity to connect with someone that makes you think “this could be me in five years”.

As the conference brought women from so many different industries with many different job titles, it took away the stereotype that there are very gender-specific engineering roles, which there aren't in reality.  It's nice to step back and get some perspective on what careers my degree can lead to, which is loads of different things!  It's great to get the opportunity to chat with the guest speakers and hear about their career journeys - they've been through what you've been through, so they really understand.

 

Do you know where you'd like your career to go? And if you do, how do you make that happen?

I'm now in the last year of my degree so I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I'm currently applying for PhDs. That's hopefully what I'll be doing next, if I get an offer. I want to specialise in communication systems and wireless networks. After a PhD, I'd like to either work in academia or academic work that is tied to industry because I really enjoy working on projects that are relevant to industry. So that or working in an R&D team I think would be a good fit for me.

 

Who or what inspired you to go into Electronics?

I was looking at courses at university and I knew I wanted to do engineering because I really enjoy maths and physics. I chose my degree based on careers I would find interesting and Electronics fit the bill. It's applicable to any industry or area really, so there's the opportunity to work in a whole range of industries - I didn't specialise my degree, as I wanted to be able to keep my options open.

 

What advice would you give to women and girls trying to get into the technology industry?

I would just advise them to not feel scared to go into it, even if they have no experience. When I came to university, I felt quite uncomfortable in classes. I didn't have any experience programming and I didn't know anything about Electronics. I felt like I had just gone into something because I found it interesting, because I was curious about it. I kept wondering if I had made the right choice. I now know if you have an initial interest for something, you should go for it. Even if you feel that everyone knows more than you, you can learn anything if you are truly interested in it. I would just advise people just to give it a go! There's support out there like WES's mentor programme, which can be helpful, just to have someone to guide you through.

 

What advice would you give to the industry to help increase the number of women and girls within the industry?

I think mentorship is really important, having people who know how you're feeling and can relate is always a bonus. Things like industry events also help, building a network and being able to talk to other people and build a community of Women Engineers.

 

Anything else?

I just wanted to add that I really enjoyed the WES Conference, I thought it was really well done and put together, and the guest speakers were absolutely great!

 

Read [Interview - Part 1] Inspiring Future Engineers - Eve McGlynn

 

Enigma People Solutions is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. We find technical leaders for the 'Emerging and Enabling' and 'Deep Technology' industries. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in photonics, electronics, semiconductor, and software in Scotland. Check out our blog for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on 0131 510 8150

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