International Women in Engineering Day 2019: Interview with third year civil engineer Bethan Wilkinson

Bethan Wilkinson is a third year MEng Civil Engineering student and recent winner of a Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Scholarship, in recognition of her potential to become a leader and role model in the field of engineering. 

Beth recently took part in the following interview to mark International Women in Engineering Day 2019. 

Is there anything in particular that sparked your interest in engineering?

I think the variety of work that comes under engineering, from biomedical to civil, really surprised me and piqued my interest as I wanted to avoid rigid career options.

I love Civil Engineering especially because it is so seamlessly part of everyday modern life that people don’t realise how often they rely on it. We use it to have access to clean water, to be able to transport ourselves around cities and for the high rise buildings we work in. It’s also under our feet at all times in the form of foundations and services.

The impact of engineering on society is definitely still what interests me today, and the more I learn about my qualification, the more career options it seems to have.

What have been the highlights and challenges of studying engineering at University so far?

The highlights for me have been the group projects where we spend the build-up to deadlines in project rooms together brainstorming and ordering in takeaways. The projects tend to have a broad, interesting scope and the final result is really satisfying when it comes together.

The biggest challenge has been how quickly the University semesters pass. You  need to consistently stay on top of the workload over the 11 teaching weeks to be ready for exams - they go quicker than you think!

Do you have any particular career aspirations for the future? If so, could you provide detail?

I have three main career aspirations: to travel with work, to have a position of leadership on an engineering project and to contribute to STEM initiatives in schools.

I am from Wales which as a country underperforms in STEM. I have frequently been one of the only Welsh students on STEM programmes, so I hope to contribute to changing this.

Do you have any advice for the next generation of young women thinking of studying engineering at University?

Engineering is really rewarding and opens doors I didn’t expect; from international summer schools, site visits to famous landmarks and networking with industry leaders.

Seize your opportunities and go for it; you will meet so many fantastic people who are passionate about the same things as you.

Related information

Bethan Wilkinson, third year MEng Civil Engineer and recipient of a Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Scholarship
Bethan Wilkinson, third year MEng Civil Engineer and recipient of a Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Scholarship