|Degree at Edinburgh Napier||MEng Civil Engineering|
|Role title||Structural Engineer|
|Organisation||Wood Group Kenny, Aberdeen|
|Interview date||21st August 2013|
|Interviewed by||Ailish Fowler|
What was Samantha’s experience at Edinburgh Napier University?
Samantha enjoyed her time as an engineering student at Edinburgh Napier University. She particularly liked:
- The variety of subjects taught on her course, for example project management, transport engineering, civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, law, contracts
- The quality of teaching on the course
- Lab work, site visits organised for her class, and presentations by visiting engineers
- The support facilities, such as the computing resources
- The interest that the lecturers had in her progression as a student
- Meeting new people over the course of her studies, including the opportunity to mix with international students
What is Samantha doing now?
Samantha works as a structural engineer at Wood Group Kenny in Aberdeen. Wood Group Kenny comprises of several business groups; J P Kenny, MCS Kenny, MSi Kenny and WGIM. Samantha works as part of JP Kenny which is the Subsea and Pipeline Engineering & Management part of Wood Group Kenny. As part of her job she is a member of a committee that promotes young engineers in the business by helping them with networking and preparing for chartered engineer status. The committee also organises events such as site visits and professional meetings.
Samantha’s ambition is to become a chartered structural engineer after the necessary five years of experience. In the future she would like to use her degree and experience to find work in Houston as a structural Engineer and would also like to gain experience in working offshore.
How did Samantha get to this position and what are her ambitions for the future?
Samantha organised two placements for herself while she was on her degree course. For three months in her third year she worked in structural design. This work included drawing and calculations while working as part of a team. Samantha enjoyed the first-hand experience of working in a way that was new to her.
In her fourth year Samantha completed a placement in Aberdeen in the oil and gas industry, where her duties included modelling and analysis work. At the end of this placement Samantha had a good understanding of the oil and gas industry and knew that she enjoyed the challenging nature of this kind of work. This influenced her decision to pursue a career in this area of engineering.
What was Samantha’s experience as a woman in engineering?
As a woman entering this field Samantha received a lot of support from her lecturers at Edinburgh Napier, especially Dr Johnson Zhang and Dr Ian Smith. Dr Smith put Samantha forward as a candidate as part of the ‘Women and Property’ awards, and she came runner up in the Scottish regional finals.
It has never been suggested to Samantha that women are unwelcome in the profession. She notes the efforts to attract more women into engineering, and believes that it is a perfect time to become a woman engineer. Although she is the only woman in her department, this does not put her at a disadvantage. She has always felt a part of the team.
What advice would Samantha give to women wanting to work in engineering?
Samantha believes that younger women need to realise the opportunities that exist in engineering. This could be achieved by women in industry giving talks and presentations in order to publicise the careers available.
For those in their final year at university Samantha suggests applying for graduate jobs early (as she did) in order to secure the best positions. There are many openings available, she adds, but they are taken up quickly. It is important to be proactive, otherwise the opportunities will pass by.
What has been Samantha’s involvement with Connect?
Samantha has previously been involved with Connect. She has given a talk to female engineering students at Edinburgh Napier University about her experience, and inspired other women entering her line of work. She recommends future students should take full advantage of what Connect has to offer.