Meet Fiona Connor
To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we're delighted to introduce you to some of the amazing women working in GDG.
What is your current role in GDG?
I’m a Senior Geotechnical Engineer, meaning I use ground investigation data to better understand the soils and geology that underly a site, and consider how they might interact with any civil or structural engineering design. That might include roads, shallow foundations, deep foundations (piles), tunnels etc.
Within GDG, I work in the structures team, which usually involves a soil/structure interaction. The projects I’m involved with vary hugely from earthworks specification to pile design, and a few curve balls such as assessing coal mining risks.
What path led you here?
I didn’t have a career plan going into my Geography undergraduate degree. During the course I enjoyed the geomorphology and sustainable soil science modules best, so I thought I may want to work in agriculture as an agronomist. However, upon graduation I realised there were many options involving soil science and geology that I hadn’t been aware of. I was delighted to secure a graduate role as a project geologist for a ground investigation company. As my career has progressed, I’ve realised that I enjoy the challenge of engineering and figuring out the ‘why’. I especially enjoy the soil mechanics aspect as it involves judgement, with no two soils or site geologies ever being the same.
Tell us about an Engineer who inspires you?
Roma Agrawal has done a huge amount to change perceptions of engineering and inspire the next generation. But I’m not sure there’s really just one person, it probably will sound a little cheesy but all my colleagues at GDG, they’re all so ace at what they do and it’s great to be able to collaborate with them.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I think my favourite thing about my job is that two days are never the same, and also that I get to work with people with a broad variety of specialisms, from all over the world. I equally enjoy that what we do is connected to the planet through geology and past environments.
What advice do you have for women interested in pursuing a career in engineering?
I don’t think I have advice that’s specific to women, but in general I think it’s a great career option at any age, you don’t have to be a 22 year old graduate. There’s so much opportunity for growth, development, travel, and learning. One thing I would recommend though, is to ensure you network. It’s important to build a community and surround yourself with people who both challenge and support you, be that colleagues, friends or mentors.