Case study

Dstl case study - Stephanie, Engineer

Stephanie works in the Counter Terrorism and Security Division at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and is a STEM Ambassador


“I fell in love with defence engineering while studying for a mechanical engineering degree at Shrivenham, after which I went on to complete an Engineering Doctorate.

While studying for my doctorate, I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling of a new armoured vehicle to members of the press, and subsequently had the opportunity to drive it around a test track. The whole experience opened my eyes to the amount of work that goes into developing and producing new equipment for our defence forces, and that was the moment I knew I wanted to work at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

I joined Dstl in 2012, and the last 5 years have been incredibly exciting and rewarding. As an engineer at Dstl, I have been able to experience a wide variety of things, such as seeing shells filled with TNT at BAE Systems, firing small arms and being involved in urgent operational requirements. I have recently changed roles and now work in research however with my engineering background, I can use my knowledge for specific tasks and know what questions to ask in order to find solutions to problems.

When I was at school, I studied maths and physics as I was good at them, although I didn’t particularly enjoy them back then. However, I did have a fascination for how things work and how forces interact with each other and objects, and loved solving problems. Mechanical engineering became the obvious choice.

Studying any STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subject will give you many options in your future careers. I only studied maths and physics to A Level because I found them easy but once I started I was hooked! Everything I had learned before fell into place and suddenly made sense in the wider world. If it’s something you enjoy then throw yourself into it and if anyone says you can’t or shouldn’t do STEM just because you’re a girl then prove them wrong!

I recently became a STEM Ambassador at Dstl as I feel passionate about helping young people understand more about the future careers available through STEM subjects.”

Published 22 June 2017