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International Women in Engineering Day: Paula Race, Generation Engineer

This year for International Women in Engineering Day (23 June 2020), we want to showcase the amazing journey our engineers have taken. We truly have a diverse bunch of women engineers in Contact who come from all walks of life. The international theme is “Shape the World,” so we asked our engineers some questions about what got them into their field in the first place.

 What the photo is of?

The photo is of me in traditional Japanese clothing for a ‘show and tell’ day at school, it was when I was 8 just after a holiday to Japan. I’m pretty sure at this age I could have chosen anything and everything as a career – anything was possible. Looking back there were a couple of clues.  Already at that age I enjoyed doing math, I liked adventures and was getting introduced to travelling. I used to voluntarily take math text books home, work through the questions by myself on an evening and then ask my mam to check the answers while I went out to save the galaxy in my spaceship.

Paula Race


What inspired you to become an engineer?

I had no idea I wanted to be an engineer until I signed up for a 6 week technical work placement in the summer holidays between years 12 and 13. I was lucky enough to land a placement with Rolls Royce data systems and solutions with a bunch of electrical and electronic engineers. I really enjoyed the work and was encouraged by the people that I worked with to pursue this at uni. I ended up applying for physics and electrical engineering but when I had to choose I opted for better job prospects and took engineering.


What surprises you most about your job?

Being an engineer has enabled me to travel, live and work in different countries relatively easily. I call my degree certificate my ‘ticket to the world’. I studied and worked in the UK and then gave myself a year to do the whole travelling gap year thing expecting that after the year ended I’d have to get back to reality, the travelling and adventuring would stop and I’d settle down into my engineering job. I never really appreciated that my engineering career would allow me to continue to have an adventurous lifestyle but it has. 


What are you most proud of having achieved in your role?

The work I’m involved in at hydro power stations generally seem like huge, daunting marathons, that no one person would be able to complete alone. Finishing a mammoth project like this as part of a successful well-functioning team after figuring out the technicalities of the project and the personalities of the team members is always a proud moment. 

Paula Race

23 Jun 2020
2 minutes to read
By Paula Race
Generation Engineer