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HLN meets… Dheevn Kahlon, Turntide Technologies

Today is International Women in Engineering Day, so we caught up with mechanical engineer Dheevn to find out what it’s really like being a woman working in STEM.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 22.06.2022

‘Being a woman in STEM is important, without different viewpoints and ideas from a wide range of people, innovation would be hard to achieve’, says mechanical engineer, Dheevn Kahlon.

For years women have been underrepresented in STEM. In 2010, just over 1 in 10 women made up engineering roles in the UK. But now things are starting to change, with recent data showing that this had risen to 16.5% in 2021.

Today marks International Women in Engineering Day when we celebrate the wonderful work that women engineers around the world are doing to support lives and help to build towards a brighter future.

So, of course, we had to spotlight one of our own local talented female engineers who is currently working to design an exciting new battery pack product.

We caught up with a mechanical engineer at Turntide Technologies, Dheeven Kahlon,  to find out more about what a typical day looks like for her, what’s it really like to be a woman in STEM and what more needs to be done to get more women into the industry.

What made you want to get into this industry?

Engineering is very hands on and creates an environment where you constantly have the opportunity to learn and explore new ideas. It also spans a wide variety of industries, as engineers are needed everywhere and the skills you gain are so practical and transferable, which leaves your career options wide open. Sustainable engineering is a particularly exciting field as you get to research and develop new technologies, which makes you feel like you are really having a positive impact on the world.

 

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

My role varies day to day and no two days are the same, which keeps me on my toes. I am currently working through the concept design stage of a new battery pack product. This involves product design using Computer Aided Design software, validating it using various tools such as Finite Element Analysis as well as holding frequent design reviews with fellow engineers to share ideas and further develop the product. This work will then lead to building prototypes of the product and physical testing of the design, all the way through to delivery of the finished product.

What does it mean to be a woman in STEM?

Being a woman in STEM is important, just like any diversity within an industry is important. Without different viewpoints and ideas from a wide range of people, innovation would be hard to achieve. When we start to encourage and include a diverse team of people within STEM organisations, we are helping to design a future that benefits us all, not just a certain type of person.

Being a woman in STEM shows younger people who are thinking of a career in STEM that it should not matter who you are or where you come from, if there is a subject that you are interested in you should pursue it.

 

 

What do you love most about your role?

I get to be creative. As an engineer, you get a good balance of learning as well as being able to apply that knowledge to coming up with new ideas and testing them out.

What challenges, if any, do you stereotypically face as a woman in engineering?

I wouldn’t say there are any particular challenges, most of the engineers I have worked with, whoever they are, have shown mutual respect and I have never felt that I have had any less opportunity than anyone else.

However, there is often a lack of senior female engineers to look up to within engineering organisations, this is something that needs to change but I believe is changing, albeit slowly. Having these role models would help to encourage young female students interested in STEM to pursue it as a career, making it easier for them to imagine themselves in those higher roles and really push themselves.

 

 

What advice would you give to young women wanting to go into your industry?

If engineering or any STEM career path is something you are interested in there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t go for it. Engineering needs people who can offer a different perspective on things, that is how we can continue to push innovation and design better products which are inclusive of everyone.

Which women inspire you?

My mother had a career in computer programming when it was less common for women to pursue a career in STEM, but it was something she enjoyed and was good at, so she pursued it. She has always encouraged me and my brother to follow paths we are interested in no matter what other people might say and that’s what got me where I am today.

 

 

What’s next for you?

I will continue to work in engineering and explore subjects that are interesting to me.

 

 

What do you love about the North East?

I grew up in London, then went on to study at the University of Warwick, before taking a graduate job up in the North East. I have been living and working here for two years now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The North East is a really unique place. It has lovely beaches, lush countryside and great cities all within close reach. You can really do anything here and the people are some of the friendliest I know.

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