GCU celebrates outstanding female Engineering students as part of International Women In Engineering Day

Thu, 17 Jun 2021 16:19:00 BST
(Pictured Left to Right) Doosan Babcock logo & MSc student Suzanne Birney
(Pictured Left to Right) Doosan Babcock logo & MSc student Suzanne Birney

GCU is celebrating our excellent students as part of International Women In Engineering Day, an annual event which takes place on the 23rd of June each year. 

International Women In Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign which raises the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on career opportunities available to women and girls. 

We spoke to MSc Mechanical Engineering student Suzanne Birney (Manufacturing Project Engineer at Doosan Babcockwho has embarked on an inspirational academic journey since deciding to pursue a career in engineering: 


What is involved in your role as Manufacturing Project Engineer? 


“My role at Doosan Babcock involves orchestrating the Engineering Design and Manufacturing Activities of some of our projects. I was recently seconded as a Construction Project Area Lead for one of our Turnarounds at a client site which was my first leadership role.  
I was the only female and the youngest lead on site which was very daunting, however the client site manager was a female and it was great to be able to learn of her own experiences in the industry. There really are role models everywhere! More recently, I have led the design and build of one of our testing rigs at our Renfrew Facility. 

How does it feel being at the stage you are at in your career? 

 I started with Doosan Babcock at the age of 17 in a Draughting apprenticeship. I would never have believed that 10 years on I would be completing my Masters whilst working in the role that I am. 

 I love Engineering for the fact that you can walk into a different challenge every day. It’s amazing to see the different disciplines come together to solve any issues. Between my current role and my studies, I certainly grow in confidence as my understanding of the industry widens. 


You have received several awards throughout your academic journey; could you tell us a bit more about this? 

 “During my apprenticeship, I was completing industrial project work alongside balancing of an HNC, HND and SVQ in Performing Engineering Operations and participating in STEM events within the community. 

 The experiences I gained during this time led to me being successful in a number of awards as I was able to demonstrate a dedication to my own personal development, whilst also giving back to the community through STEM events.  
In total, I achieved many accolades include: ‘IMechE Apprentice of the Year 2014Scotland’s Modern Apprentice of the Year 2014, Women of the future: Young star and my most recent being Apprentice Great which I was award by Skills Development Scotland in 2019 for my commitment to being an apprenticeship ambassador. 

The awards have led to many exciting STEM opportunities and have provided a vibrant networking circle; not only in Scotland but the whole of the UK. 


How are you able to balance work with your studies? 

 Finding a balance between work and studies as well as personal life is always a challenge. My employer is very supportive with my studies and is always on hand should I need additional support. 

 It is very important to strike the balance right and not burn out by scheduling in downtime as well. Coursework submissions and thesis hand ins are always high stress times so I always make sure to communicate that with whichever team I am working in at the time. Some of my colleagues are GCU Alumni and they are always happy to offer advice when needed.” 

Find out more about International Women In Engineering Day on their website 


By Rachael McAlonan 

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