Tiffany Roberts

When and how did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in STEM?

I absolutely loved mathematics and physics at school and always pestered my parents growing up asking how and why things work. I spent some time traveling just after turning twenty and found beautiful buildings in Singapore, The Marina Bay Sands was the main one; a true engineering feat. It was then that I began looking to match my mathematical skills with a career that involved creating something. Engineer repeatedly came up, Structural Engineer was always top of the list. This fits not only the technical abilities but my want for project work that is constantly changing, bringing new challenges.

Have you ever been a victim of gender stereotype?

Yes, frequently in my current role as a Technical Support Engineer. It ranges from customers asking to be put through to technical (after I have just introduced myself as Technical Support), to someone outright refusing to speak with me or take my advice. Then when told the exact same diagnosis/resolution from a male colleague they complete the actions as asked. It’s very difficult to keep your chin up during these times. This is why I want to place as much emphasis as possible on making women in engineering roles completely normal. The next generation will not have to experience this.

What is my dream as an engineer?

By the end of my career I would like to have had an impact on promoting WIE to young girls/women, becoming a Chartered Engineer myself and building up a highly skilled portfolio of projects completed. To create something that looks inspiring and that will maybe inspire the next generation into the field.

Have you ever doubted you can do something because you’re a woman?

In short no – I have grown up in a beautiful family that encouraged me from the very beginning. There was never something out of limits, I had my first quad bike at 6, to quote my dad “she’s not having a kitchen set, I don’t want here thinking that is where she will belong”. The company I work for now also places a lot of emphasis on taking people solely on their merits.

What would you say to someone who thinks that maths is hard or that maths is pointless?

 Mathematics is in its simplest form a tool kit; it allows you to think logically, work methodically and not be fearful of large seemingly impossible tasks. Whilst the actual numbers themselves you may not use in every-day life, the ability to look at a task and see it as a collection of smaller tasks is provided by mathematics. That is one of the reasons I love it.

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