You can't be an engineer by yourself, you need others
Leverage mentors, continue to learn and just give everything a go. Sophie Matthews (Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Honours)) shares what underpins her success.
As a female working in a male-dominated industry, Sophie isn’t too phased. "Be confident in yourself, and what you know and don’t know," she said. "It’s okay to say you don’t know the answer to something, it just means you can improve next time!"
Working in Product Development at Ford Motor Company since 2015, Sophie has transitioned from Vehicle Integration Engineer to Studio Engineer. She went from resolving cross-functional issues in the all-new 2019 North American Ford Ranger to using 3D CAD to identify creative engineering solutions to support the vision of designers. "There’s a great sense of accomplishment when concepts I’ve generated, or studies I’ve completed, become part of a program," she said. "Especially when you get to see it come to life in virtual reality or full-scale clay models in the Design Studio. In order to succeed in these roles, I’ve continued to learn, leveraged mentors and just given everything a go."
So what advice does Sophie share to those starting a degree? "Make sure you build a network of friends," she said. "From the large-scale design projects to challenging your own thinking, you can’t be an engineer by yourself, you need the support of others." Sophie also doesn’t trivialise the importance of maintaining balance. "I played a lot of sport while at university and I was a sport manager with TeamMonash, representing the soccer team in the Australian University Games from 2012-2015," she said. "I still play soccer and mixed futsal weekly."
Wondering how studying Aerospace Engineering led Sophie to where she is now? The mix between practical and theoretical knowledge gained throughout her degree has held her in good stead. " I found that I enjoyed the application of science and mathematics to real-world problems," she shared. "I’ve applied my experience working in teams, programming skills and techniques like 3D modelling to my roles at Ford." Sophie always wanted a hands-on role within product development, close to the action, rather than being stuck in a corporate high-rise. "I liked the idea of being able to create something for everyday consumers that would potentially shape and impact the way people go about their lives."
What’s next for Sophie? As part the Graduate Program at Ford she will soon be relocating to the You Yangs Proving Ground in Lara. Watch this space as we know this won't be the last we hear from Sophie.