Next week, to mark National Women in Engineering Day I’ll be taking part in a panel event at the Engineering Department at Cambridge University (UK). The event is to give current undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers the opportunity to talk to people who have taken different career paths in academia and/or industry.

I’ve blogged before about how many of our female staff in the UK are already involved in events and organisations promoting and helping women in science and engineering and also about how our staff in particular have a lot to offer not just in terms of talent but also by virtue of our products that often help people work in different and more flexible ways.

I feel a little bit of an imposter as the other speakers are so experienced and talented and I’m thinking of it more as recognition of how the staff in our Citrix Cambridge offices have got involved with local events and the software community. Many of our staff (including some male ones) are using the free volunteer days every Citrix employee gets to support Robogals (getting young girls to make robots).

It’s been interesting preparing with a list of topics that may be explored the list of recommended preparation includes being prepared to answer questions such as:

  • “Do you believe that your career in industry/academia favours a specific working style?”
  • “How supportive do you believe your position is of a work/life balance? “

Questions that working at Citrix you end up thinking about every day working on the products!

It’s also interesting that whilst I work in industry working as Product Manager for HDX graphics, I still have a lot of contact with research as we investigate and adopt cutting edge compression, GPU usage, and image analysis. In particular the vGPU projects have involved an awful lot of work with engineering and CAD/AEC/CAE applications, so I feel fairly comfortable with the panel event, albeit a little intimidated by the calibre of the audience.

The event is free to attend and is open to all individuals affiliated with the Engineering Department of Cambridge University and those from other Departments in the School of Technology namely the Judge Business School, the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and the Computer Laboratory. Location & time: Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street from 12.30pm-3pm. Please book here.

The full details of speakers:

On 23 June 2014, in celebration of National Women in Engineering Day, the Department of Engineering will be hosting a panel discussion, “Academia or Industry?”. Learn about career choices available to Ph.D.s and post-docs through a panel discussion featuring five successful women with extensive experience in academic and industrial posts. The event will feature a lunch in the courtyard behind the Inglis building at 12:30 and an introduction by Dr. Abir Al-Tabbaa who will lead the panel discussion in LR4. The following panelists will discuss their experiences with making career choices beyond university and answer questions related to the choice between academic and industrial career paths.

• Dr. Jennifer Schooling studied Materials Science at Cambridge University. With over 15 years of experience as a professional engineer, she currently acts as Director at the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction in Cambridge.

• Dr. Kate Knill has worked in speech technology for over 20 years as a post-doc at Cambridge University, at a Silicon Valley start-up, as Assistant Managing Director and Speech Technology Group Leader for Toshiba Research Europe Ltd, Cambridge Research Lab, and her current role as a Senior Research Associate in the Machine Intelligence Laboratory.

• Dr. Giovanna Biscontin completed her Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002. After 11 years as an academic at Texas A&M University, she joined the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University in the Autumn of 2013.

• Dr. Abi Graham. After completing a research fellowship at Emmanuel College in experimental physics, decided to transition to industry. She is currently a technology consultant for The Technology Partnership in Cambridge.

Rachel Berry completed her undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Cambridge before working as a software engineer at Siemens UGS PLM. She now works as a product manager for HDX Graphics at Citrix.

The event is open to all individuals affiliated with the Department and those from other Departments in the School of Technology namely the Judge Business School, the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and the Computer Laboratory.