Engineering

STEM Pathways

View Image : Megan Coghill

I’m an optical design engineer, which I like to think is the coolest career that nobody has ever heard of! It’s my job to invent cameras, lenses  and lasers for all sorts of people, purposes and environments. I currently design products for Thales here in Glasgow; you’ll find me creating thermal imaging cameras to be used on submarines or helicopters, or developing  dinky wee handheld laser systems to measure distance very quickly and accurately. There are optical design engineers all over Scotland inventing the next generation of healthcare products, mobile phone cameras and astronomical instruments – we even invent cameras for filming movies with!

I absolutely loved science and art when I was in school and found it impossible to choose between the two, so I came to Glasgow to study physics & chemistry at university but kept my part-time job as a wedding & event photographer at the same time. I had no idea I could combine my two passions in to the job that I do now! I was always curious about how things worked and loved expressing my creative side – these are the personality traits I use most in my job now, where I spend most days researching, inventing, drawing and talking (lots and lots of talking!)

My career in STEM has taken me all over the world – I’ve been to Finland, Switzerland and America for conferences and courses, and I even lived in Amsterdam for a year working as a researcher in physics. Both in the Netherlands and in Scotland there’s a really vibrant and welcoming community of scientists, engineers, researchers and developers – it feels like the perfect fit for me. Glasgow especially has been a major player in STEM for literally hundreds of years and it’s up to our generation to keep on leading the way!