Charlotte: My experience as a disabled woman in engineering
Student experience 5th August 2022
Meet Charlotte, an Electric, Electronic, and Mechatronic Engineering student and a Beatrice Shilling Scholarship awardee in her 3rd year of study. She has taken the time to tell us a bit about her story and why she chose engineering:
“I am a disabled woman in engineering. An intersection between minority groups, within an industry that is barely able to cope with one. It is an interesting place to find myself, somewhat paradoxical; on one hand that desire to prove myself in a male-dominated industry, and on the other the constant need for assistance in an able-bodied world.
These two feelings are not exactly contradictory, they both amount to my slightly warped existence. An existence that fits perfectly into EEE. Not to say it isn’t easy. It is a challenging subject – physically, emotionally, and academically – yet it is fun, it is joyous and, in spite of all the challenges, it is where I want to be.
For me, Engineering is the intersection between creativity and science. It is about looking at the world, asking what is wrong with it, and then, how to fix it. It is about finding those little technical solutions that make a difference whether that be on a grand or minute scale – literally. It is a subject that ranges from the smallest subatomic particles to gigantic generation systems.
On a personal level, I’ve seen with my disability how impactful this field is, from MRI machines to robotics. It is what drew me to the subject initially. What stemmed from my obsessive need to understand the devices used in my medical care, grew a fascination, a yearning to explain how other things worked and evolved a desire to design technology that will help people.
I chose Manchester because it was clear it cared about engineering. The Engineering Building, with all the engineering disciplines under one roof, almost a mascot for its passion, a stamp on the world. But even more than that it felt like a university that was committed to addressing accessibility within this incredible industry, particularly through the Beatrice Shilling Scholarship.
I have found that the Beatrice Schilling scholarship has not only supported me financially but has provided a support network that would not typically be there… and is definitely needed. It has harboured some fantastic female friendships and will undoubtedly enable networking opportunities that will enhance my career, especially with other women in EEE.”
Watch Charlotte and other engineering students speak to Professor Danielle George about why they got into engineering and how they’re inspiring the next generation of women in engineering: