Women in Engineering Group

Women in Engineering Group is a sub group of the Inclusion and Diversity Society.  The Group’s mission is to support women, pre and post-graduation (including those returning from a career break) who have chosen to pursue a career in engineering so as to develop their skills and competences and fully realise their potential in and out of the workplace.

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Engineers Changing the Future

WEG Engineers Changing the Future

The Engineers Ireland Women in Engineering group would like to highlight Engineers changing the future and to inspire the next generation. We are looking to profile Engineers who are working in the area of climate change. If you are interested in being profiled please complete the form by clicking the button below. 

Changing the Future

Each week we will be profiling Engineers who are changing the future and inspiring the next generation. Read more about the work and important role Engineers can play in dealing with climate change.

Laura McMahon, Associate Director

Associate Director, Lawler Sustainability

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Driven. Passionate. Respectful.

Tell us about your company and your role.
Lawler Sustainability specialises in sustainability and energy performance in the built environment and construction industry. The Sustainability Team provide energy modelling for both NZEB compliance and BERs, energy audits for SI426 Compliance, building certification schemes such as BREEAM LEED and Edge and wellbeing assessments such as WELL and Fitwel. We provide Sustainability Advisory services to clients regarding SEAI grants, including EXEED. I am the Sustainability Team lead here at Lawler Sustainability. We have won some exciting projects for 2022, so we have a growing team. It is an exciting place to work!

What inspired you to become an Engineer?
My love of maths originally, but to specialise in sustainability, it was my love of nature and the desire to drive change.

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?
Engineers in the building services industry especially are responsible for the carbon and energy emissions from buildings. It is important that in all our work, we do our best to reduce and mitigate the need for excessive energy consumption.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?
Engineers in their designs can directly reduce carbon emissions associated with new and existing developments. Which then has positive impacts on running costs and improving the wellbeing of the occupants. Engineers also have a role to spread awareness and drive the change required with developers, building owners and tenants. 

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?
Awareness and resistance to change. Cost is of course an obstacle too.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?
Engineering is a broad career with many avenues available for different interests and strengths. People think it is heavily site based. It is not always, I am office based. It offers a rewarding career where you can feel like you are doing your part to drive change. It requires resilience and adaptability. It is a career that thrives on innovation, and most of all, for me, it's rewarding.

Follow Laura on LinkedIn here. 

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Rosemarie Lawlor, Chartered Engineer

Chartered Engineer, Hydrometeorologist at Met Éireann

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Energetic, knowledge and adaptable.

Tell us about your company and your role.
I work in Met Eireann as a hydrometeorologist part of the team developing the new flood forecasting service. My role is developing the coastal flood forecasting modelling system and observations which is a key part of managing flood risk as sea levels rise. This involves many areas of engineering as well as meteorology.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?
My love of maths and the idea of designing elements of the world we live inspired me to become engineer.

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?
As engineers what we construct/develop needs to be responsive to the challenge that climate change brings. Therefore, as engineers we need to engage with climate change issues in our designs and developments.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?
The ability to adapt our world to climate change will be done by the engineers in their contributions to new designing and developing approaches. New technologies will emerge to deal with climate change especially in the energy sector.

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?
Lack of commitment by governments to change over or invest in new technologies and approaches. Older technologies are still available at a cheaper cost to government in the short term but the long-term impact of this approach on climate change is not measured.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?
As an engineer you can have a career that impacts on the world around you and other. No two days are the same and the solution to climate change will be found by the engineers of the future not just the politicians.

Follow Rosemarie on Linkedin, here. 

Follow the Women in Engineering Group on Linkedin, here.

Barry McMullin, Chartered Engineer

Professor, School of Electronic Engineering, Dublin City University

 

Tell us about yourself in three words.

Energy decarbonisation work.

Tell us about your company and your role.

I'm at academic engineer at Dublin City University. I spend my time researching the challenges of rapidly decarbonising our energy systems (in this time of climate emergency) and helping student engineers learning about this and other societal challenges that engineering insights and skills are key to addressing in the years ahead.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?

I wanted to change the world! And my particular way of changing the world is by making things - things that solve tangible problems. This is not the only way to change the world of course - and engineers also have to learn to work with people with many different skills and abilities. But engineering is still a critical underpinning to many fundamental systems that our industrialised societies rely on: clean water, sanitation, shelter, food, transport, communication, education ...

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?

Climate change is in the vanguard of humanity's unfolding collision with multiple planetary boundaries. Past engineering "successes" - built, as they were, on vast exploitation of fossil energy resources - have contributed very significantly to our collective arrival at this predicament. While we need all citizens deeply involved in our response, engineers now have both a unique role and a profound responsibility to engage with this issue.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?

The immediate challenge is to re-engineer fossil energy out of our societies, to do so at unparalleled speed, and yet to maintain continuity of all key services throughout this transformation; at the same time as adapting our infrastructures and built environment to withstand worsening climate impacts; and all while still promoting sufficient material development to support a global society built on equity, justice and shared human solidarity.

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?

As yet wider societies have not yet fully grasped the scale and urgency of transformation demanded by the climate challenge. There is a lot that engineers can contribute to this response: but we need the licence, support and empowerment from wider society to do this. In addition to our strictly technical skills, the engineering profession much also engage in strong communication about the choices we are faced with, and help societies to understand how best to prioritise material resources to respond commensurately, while still protecting equity, justice and solidarity both within nations, and between nations across our single shared planet.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?

Ask questions. Challenge authorities - but listen to the answers.

Build stuff. Break stuff. Dismantle stuff. Re-build and build back better.

Take time to build your social networks also - personal and professional.

Respect human difference and diversity.

Be ambitious - for yourself, and for everybody else.

 

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Saorlaith Ní Shuibhne, Chartered Engineer

Chartered Transportation Engineer / Transportation Planner at DBFL


Tell us about yourself in three words.

Imposter syndrome sufferer.

Tell us about your company and your role.

I work as a transportation engineer and planner in DBFL which is an Irish engineering consultancy. We work with both private and public sector clients. My main role currently is figuring out the different ways we can encourage sustainable transport options, whether this is providing an active modes route in an area or coming up with a mobility plan for a development to ensure users have access to sustainable modes for their journeys.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?

I grew up surrounded by engineers and always liked planning things out and solving problems, so engineering was always on the cards for me. As I made my way through my formal education my areas of interest started to show themselves and I’m still figuring things out as I progress through my career. My main motivation is that I want to help people, transportation engineering and planning helps me do this because at a fundamental level it’s about accessibility and removing barriers to ensure people have access to things while being sustainable.     

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?

At a basic level every engineer is a problem solver, and climate change is a big problem. It makes sense that our problem solvers are working on this. Engineers are also at the forefront of progression and advancements so if we want to protect the world from climate change and live sustainable lives, we need the trajectory of our advancements to be reflective of this.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?

There are so many. Engineers can contribute to the mitigation of climate change by working towards reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They can help with adaption to aid in recovery from climate change through things like flood relief infrastructure. I’m sure there are branches of engineering that haven’t even formed yet that will be experts at climate engineering to address specific climate change impacts. The contributions are endless.  

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?

Put simply, big companies with too much power. I think there needs to be more accountability at the beginning of production lifecycles rather than putting all the responsibility on final users. I think big companies have more sway on us than anyone would like to believe and their power dictates how we consume products and information.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?

Stay open minded and always remember your passion. There is no such thing as a wrong decision if it’s made for the right reasons so don’t put too much pressure on yourself about individual decisions about your career and think about the big picture instead.

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Aoife Murphy, Chartered Engineer

Aoife Murphy, Chartered Engineer, Senior Engineer, David Kelly partnership

 

Tell us about yourself in three words.
Passionate, interesting, happy

Tell us about your company and your role.
I'm a structural engineer working almost wholly in conservation. I love working with old buildings and structures. Every job is different and there is always something new to learn.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?
I wasn't sure what engineering was exactly when I started studying. I was good at math and enjoyed a challenge. The variety of jobs/careers from an engineering degree interested me.

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?
It will touch on all of our work. We are the designers of power systems, buildings, transportation systems. All at the forefront of what will be affected by climate change.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?
From my area retrofit of existing buildings is an area we need to step into. The carbon footprint of building is huge not to mention demolish and rebuild. For engineering as a whole, we need to look at energy supply, an over reliance of fossil fuels is going to affect us all in the short term now. Renewable energy and electric transport need to be prioritised.

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?
I think the appetite is not there yet. A change away from fossil fuels is essential but to facilitate that there needs to be infrastructure in place.  Alternatives to heating and transport for all are needed, not just those who can afford to upgrade their systems. Incentives to upgrade existing homes, towards electric vehicles and improved public transport systems for everyone. The privatisation of essential items such as transport, electricity, housing and potentially health is worrying.

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?
It is a fascinating, important area where you will be challenged and will keep learning. It’s also very broad. You can travel the world with it. You will find your niche.

Some images of Aoife’s work;

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Brigid Walsh, Chartered Engineer

Project Director & Co-Founder of Solar Evolution Ltd

Tell us about yourself in three words:
Creative, Curious, Passionate.
 

Tell us about your company and your role? 
I am the Cofounder and Project Director of Solar Evolution a renewable energy company offering a full turnkey solar PV solution to our commercial clients. Solar Evolution are Renewable energy professionals committed to a sustainable future that help commercial and industrial companies produce their own electricity, efficiently, reliably, economically, that can offset your businesses carbon footprint.
 

What inspired you to become an Engineer?
The job of an engineer influences where people work, relax, learn and live their lives. There are a vast range of fields, and positions within them, available in the engineering world.  I find it exciting to have so many options, love the variety of roles available and enjoy the flexibility and variety this provides.
 

Can you tell us how your work as an Engineer benefits the planet and/or people? Why is it important for engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?
My field of engineering - renewable energy – plays a vital part in sustainable energy development. It helps create alternates to using fossil fuels and mitigates the effects of climate change.
Engineering skills are necessary in the renewable energy and technology sector which is advancing at a very fast pace. Corporations are embracing emissions reduction targets, one of the objectives of the climate action plan, to limit the impact of their activities on the rise in global temperatures. The innovation engineers provide crucially helps tackle climate change. We are seeing results at both a local and global level which benefits every individual.
 

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?
As an engineer I have had the opportunity to work with new technologies, understand how they work and liaise with others as to how improvements can be made. Engineering, being a creative field, has provided immense job and personal satisfaction for me. Engineering is practical subjects that give students hands-on experience of working that helps to develop skills and initiative in the planning and realisation of designing, planning, building and technological processes.  
 

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Some images of Brigid’s work below:


Sarah Bonasegale, Chartered Engineer

Senior Carbon and Climate Specialist, ARUP 

Tell us about yourself in three words. 
Motivated, accomplished, positive 

Tell us about your company and your role. 
I work with ARUP, a world class firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants, and technical specialists working across every aspect of the built environment. Arup’s primary goal is to develop a truly sustainable built environment. In all our work, we aim to identify a balance between the needs of a growing world population and the finite capacity and health of our planet. I am a Senior Carbon and Climate Change Specialist with Arup advising clients to develop pathways, frameworks and implementation plans to achieve their carbon objectives in different sectors including infrastructure, buildings, cities, transport, energy and water. 

What inspired you to become an Engineer? 
Engineers are problem-solvers. I wanted to become an environmental engineer to help to mitigate the climate crisis we are currently facing and to make the world a better place. 

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?  
Engineers design, construct and operate the infrastructures on which our economy depends on. They work on a wide range of sectors including energy, transport, buildings, water, waste and digital. They have the knowledge and the technical skills to operate the decarbonising transition that our economy needs to halt climate change. 

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?  
Climate change is caused by emissions of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Firstly, engineers can use their skills and influence to reduce GHG emissions from across all of the economy sectors and at all stages of the life cycle of infrastructures. Secondly, since climate change is already happening, engineers need to implement climate adaptations measures. Engineers need to design, create and operate infrastructures that will help city, towns and villages across the globe to cope with a changing climate and to build resilient communities. 

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change? 
Lack of time. Climate crisis is global and needs to be addressed at global level. International cooperation takes time. But we have less than 10 years to have to cut our carbon emissions in half. 

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career? 
Work on the good side on the force! Work with companies that don’t prioritize economic outcomes over social and environmental impacts and o 

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Valerie Moalic, Process Engineer

Valerie Moalic, Process Engineer at Enva Ireland

Tell us about yourself in three words.

Curious, analytical, optimistic

Tell us about your company and your role.

I am a Process Engineer at Enva, a provider of recycling and resource recovery solutions. I work in the hazardous and specialist waste division where Enva offers safe and environmentally compliant solutions to tackle complex waste for customers from a broad range of industries. My role is to lead improvements to our day-to-day operations as well as manage projects at our treatment facilities, such as upgrades to parts of the plant to enable the treatment of new stream of waste.

What inspired you to become an Engineer?

I liked physics and chemistry in secondary school but I also liked history and literature (I love reading books) so I was a bit lost as to what to do. When I was 16, I went to a career fair and I spoke to a civil engineer who told me about building bridges, hospitals, dams, sanitation, and water infrastructure, etc. and basically making the world a better place. That’s what inspired me to become an engineer, I wanted to be able to make a difference.

Why is it important for Engineers to engage with the issue of climate change?

Engineers have a responsibility when it comes to climate change because they design, build, install, and implement technologies that have a direct impact on our societies and the environment. Past engineers have shaped the world we currently live in, today’s engineers are shaping the world we and the next generations will live in.

What is an Engineer's contribution to dealing with climate change?

Engineers are very good at solving problems, so they are in a privileged position when it comes to tackling climate changing. Engineers can design and implement solutions to limit global warming such as energy efficient processes. They can participate in building new cleaner energy networks. They can ensure existing systems are upgraded or safely decommissioned (why not even recycled) to limit their impact on the environment.

What do you see as a major obstacle in solving climate change?

We need more cooperation between industries and fields so that knowledge is shared. The packaging of most toothbrushes is made of cardboard at the back and plastic at the front. Both are recyclable materials, but they cannot be recycled together as one would contaminate the other. To ensure they are properly recycled, we rely on the consumer to separate the plastic from the cardboard when placing them in their bin. Could we not have 100% cardboard packaging for toothbrushes?

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who would like to pursue Engineering as their career?

If you are thinking of engineering, it is likely that it’s the right choice for you. Engineering is a very diverse and rewarding profession. Engineers can apply their knowledge in various areas and get to work on things that can positively impact people on a daily basis. Engineering also provides with a strong base of knowledge and tools which enables to switch between industries and fields or even lead to a non-engineering career. My advice is don’t overthink it, do it!

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