With technology and science becoming one of the key drivers for the economic growth, Australian girls and women are still significantly underrepresented in STEM education and careers. Hear from an aspiring young engineer, Keren, who is passionate about STEM and encourages more women to consider a career in STEM.
Keren, an Engineer at BAE Systems, is making her mark in a more male-dominated industry, and leading the way by thinking outside the box and inspiring a new generation of women to become involved in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) career pathway.
It was evident that with a passion and vested interest in science, technology and aerospace from an early age, Keren’s career in STEM was already beginning - even when she was attending scouts as a young teen.
‘I had a wonderful opportunity as a young teenager, to represent Australia on our first team to the International Space Olympics, which was held in Russia. I really was exposed to that opportunity because of my involvement with scouts.
'They went above and beyond to take a kid like myself to Russia'
‘And, because there were engineers and academics who wanted to inspire our next generation in STEM, they went above and beyond to take a kid like myself to Russia.'
Keren went on to study at University and shortly after completed an internship with Qantas, an opportunity which allowed her to gain exposure and experience in the world of aerospace.
Having worked for BAE Systems for almost four years now, her involvement on a number of projects hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The most recent 2020 Women In Industry Awards was a true reflection of her efforts, where Keren became the finalist, an honourable achievement which recognised Keren for her research and involvement around the 3D printing of metals for defence applications.
Originally inspired by all the challenges that are faced with trying to fix sustainment problems (in the industry), Keren found a gap and identified the need for a solution.
‘There's so many technical problems that need a bespoke part, but you can’t get your hands on that part. I tried to fill that gap for when there is something that you cannot obtain, with something else that's technically appropriate. It's such a difficult dynamic when embarking on the considerations for 3D printing and certification for defence platforms due to the variability of 3Dprinted metals.’
Keren’s 3D printing initiatives have already widely gained attention at BAE Systems, as well as the attention of various universities, proving there’s an appetite in the industry for such advanced printing technologies.
'I would love to see a mid-career kind of internship program where you bring science mums, or women that have just had kids back into the workforce.'
Keren’s special mention aside, she says her biggest career achievement to date was on a more technical front, working with BAE Systems in completion of her recent Masters of Mechanical Engineering and becoming a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Systems Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, all whilst working full-time.
For Keren, these achievements were a major milestone of her career in STEM.
‘The completion of my Masters of Mechanical Engineering and the exposure that I had developed through working on a range of projects really drove my approach.’
‘I completed it (Chartered Professional Engineering Program) because I wanted my ‘street-cred’ as an engineer, and that's where the challenge comes in. There is a level of credibility that comes with recognition from an external group, which is internationally recognised. So, accreditation wise, that's been an absolute achievement.’
With the number of women in STEM careers slowly rising over the years, Keren says she would like to see even more women in defence-based roles, particularly focusing on mid-career programs, ideally for those who have a science-based background and want a career change, or for women returning back into the workforce post-children.
‘How to get more women into defence? I would love to see a mid-career kind of internship program where you bring science mums, or women that have just had kids back into the workforce.’
BAE Systems is one of Australia’s largest employers of engineers. If you’re looking for an exciting career in aerospace and beyond, explore a career with us.