What drew you to this career area?
I first got introduced to Human Factors as I was doing my undergraduate degree in Manufacturing Engineering. I then followed onto do an MSc in Human Factors at the University of Nottingham and completed my project on Automotive Human Factors in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover. That’s when I knew I wanted to further my career in this area.
What’s the most exciting development you’ve witnessed in your sector since you started working in it?
Probably the developments in Automated Driving. Working in Research I’m lucky enough to witness some really cool technologies around Automated Driving that most probably a lot of people will not get to experience until these technologies become available to the public. It is definitely something I underestimate some days, the amount of exciting technologies we get to encounter on a regular basis that lots of other people don’t.
What aspect of your job did you struggle/have you struggled to get to grips with?
Working with different teams who have different expectations has definitely been the most challenging part of my job. When engaging with stakeholders one of the important things is managing people’s expectations. This is something I definitely appreciate more and more over time.
If you had the power to change anything within the STEM sector, what would that be?
More women in higher positions in companies! People always say that there aren’t as many women in certain industries compared to the number of men as there aren’t as many women who come from a STEM background. I think this is definitely changing and this can be reflected more in industry.
I would also get rid of the look of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them I’m an engineer which I still get from time to time to this day (sometimes even accompanied by “but you don’t look like an engineer”!).
Which of your personality traits makes you best suited to your job and this sector?
I believe I’m in a very lucky position having completed a Human Factors degree after an Engineering degree. An Engineering degree isn’t just about learning all the technical elements but I believe it teaches you a really useful way of thinking and approaching problem solving. I find this helps me communicate with the engineers in the company easily and also helps me with being able to bridge the gap between Human Factors and Engineering.
As a Human Factors specialist in the Human Machine Interaction team it’s my job to create the best user experience possible for our customers when they are interacting with the technologies in the vehicle. I like making the lives of the people around me easier in general and enjoy the fact that the focus of my job is people.
How do you make connections with others in the STEM community?
I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors and try to sustain connections with colleagues in this area through this. I also find conferences are a useful way to make new connections.
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