Engineering

STEM Pathways

View Image : Ashleigh Barron

From a young age I have always been interested in STEM subjects and have always enjoyed taking things apart and seeing how they work.  At school I enjoyed Physics the most; it seemed to appeal to my inquisitive nature. When it came time to choose what I wanted to do after school I decided to study Physics with Education.  Enrolling on the Education part of the course was mainly to please my parents as I nor they knew what sort of career I could do with a Physics degree other than teaching.  Trouble was I hated it and wasn’t very good so at the end of my second year I changed to Physics.  During my time at university, I particularly like the lasers and photonics side of my degree so decided to study a masters in photonics.  Through my masters course I had the opportunity to spend my summer working in the lasers department of company based in Edinburgh. 

I always enjoyed the research side of Physics and this opportunity enabled me to experience this type of career.  I then went back to university to complete a research PhD and post doctorate position before I joined Thales 3 years ago in my current role as a Laser Engineer.  My career so far has been very fulfilling, every day I get to work on the aspects of physics that I’ve always loved like finding out how things work, working in the lab within my role of developing new products.  I get to work on products from start to finish; from initial breadboard type experiments where we can try things out to see what works best to finished products that we test over temperature, vibration and shock to prove our design lives up to the challenging environment seen by our customers.