International Women in Engineering Day: Penelope Livesey is an Applications Engineer working on the Apiezon brand of vacuum greases, oils and sealants. Penny supports our team of distributors around the world, acting as their main point of contact at M&I Materials, feeding back information on new applications and supporting with technical advice on our products. Today she discusses her motivation to launch her career in engineering as well as her experience within the industry.
What inspired you to work in this industry?
“I was good at maths and science (as well as German) so chose to study A-levels in those subjects. One lecturer at the open day at the University of Liverpool (Dr Helen Aspinall) was particularly excited about her research and it really resonated with me and helped my decision to study there.“
Are there any female engineers who have or currently inspire you?
“Ellen Stofan, the former Chief Scientist at NASA is a female engineer who inspires me. I recently heard her interview on BBC’s Life Scientific. She mentioned the lack of women in science role models when she was growing up – and now she is the kind of role model she was looking for! I’m always excited by people who work in the space sector, especially since I work on our Apiezon range of products which are used by NASA.”
What has been your experience of working at M&I Materials?
“It’s been a positive experience – I have been able to progress my career significantly and have had the opportunity to work with a range of people all over the world.
I began at M&I Materials mostly in lab work and on a temporary contract. I quickly was offered a permanent position and began taking on more responsibilities, including sitting on standards committees and presenting at conferences. When my current position became available, I was invited to apply and interview for the role.“
What excites you about working as an Applications Engineer?
“I love to find out how our products are being used. Apiezon products are often used in cutting edge research experiments at major scientific facilities, so it’s exciting to see these experiments and offer advice on how using our products can improve the results.”
What are your hopes for your future career?
“I want to continue to grow my career at M&I Materials. I want to continue to work with my customers, helping them improve their results and yields. I would like to progress to take on more responsibility in future.”
What is the best career advice you have been given and by whom?
My older sister has always told me to understand my worth, set limits and expectations and if I know I deserve something, to speak up for myself. It can be difficult to advocate for yourself and I think women especially can struggle to be heard, but it’s very important to do.
My fiancé also has the best advice ‘go and smash it’.
What advice do you have for women interested in becoming an engineer?
Don’t let anything hold you back from achieving what you want to do.