“When I was at school, I loved maths and physics. My family worked at what was then the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, and I grew up from an early age surrounded by the Air Show. After school, I was sponsored by the Ministry of Defence to train as an engineer at university. I then joined the RAF and did 18 years’ service. In that time, I became a Navigator on the Hercules aircraft and was one of the first women to take up that role.
Now a project manager at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), my engineering background is crucial for understanding the technical aspects of the projects I run. An exciting piece of work recently involved SKEETER – a tiny unmanned air system inspired by a dragonfly, which could revolutionise intelligence gathering in complex urban environments.
To girls considering a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), I would say it provides exciting opportunities to work on real-world applications, whether in a research laboratory, a manufacturing environment or serving in the military. Technology surrounds us and is driving the way we live – you can bring a different perspective and make a difference.”