International Women’s Day 2021
On this International Women’s Day, WaveOptics are proud that the number of women within our workforce is continuing to grow. We are committed to continuing to highlight the opportunities for women across the sector and breaking the gender stereotypes within the industry.
The theme for IWD 2021 is #choosetochallenge and we took this opportunity to hear from just a few of our female colleagues and highlight their journeys, and the challenges they’ve overcome, in the hopes of inspiring more women to consider careers within the space.
Position: Waveguide Physics Engineering Manager
Scientists #choosetochallenge what’s possible every day – and that constant pursuit of change and improvement is what led me to study engineering. However, it wasn’t until I started taking optics classes that I found what I was really passionate about – physics of light. At University, I worked in the field of digital holography, which was the beginning of my interest in Augmented Reality. Afterwards, I joined Intel’s New Devices Group and their AR smart glasses project to continue developing my optics experience.
What later brought me to WaveOptics is not only the technology, but also the dynamics of a start-up environment and possibility to innovate amongst apparent chaos. There is a new challenge to overcome every day and that opportunity to make a difference is what makes it exciting.
Position: Production Technician
As a woman interested in STEM I was always uncertain about how my career would develop beyond school. I started working in TV which was a fantastic opportunity to build the foundations of my knowledge of optical equipment. I feel very empowered to be a woman working in a high level technical field building close relationships with my colleagues. As my career developed, I felt inspired to pursue my passion for engineering further and found my niche in product development. This gave me a chance to grow and develop my skills in technology and communication within in the fast-paced start up environment. I feel hugely motivated to continue delivering quality projects and relationships at WaveOptics as my career develops.
In the past, one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome is ensuring I’m taken seriously. As a young woman people have been quick to dismiss my ideas, I have learnt to overcome this by always tackling issues head on with enthusiasm and making sure my resolutions are well thought out and raised through the correct channels to ensure they are heard. I never shy away from challenges, instead I work towards potential solutions ensuring they are fully considered and well thought out.
Position: Software Developer
I have been working at WaveOptics as a Software Developer after graduating with a degree in Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence.
Truthfully, I initially became a Software Developer because I love video games, and the idea that I could bring ideas into digital fruition in a similar vein was enchanting to me. Building software feels like building a new world that people can use.
Aside from the difficult subject matter, one of the main challenges I have had to overcome as a woman in this field has been pushing past the somewhat specific stereotype of a programmer (a shy male in a basement with multiple monitors). There were very few women on my course, and this contributed to feelings of a lack of belonging, and imposter syndrome at times. Regardless of why there have been less women pursuing software development, I do think that a lot of software (especially those made for women) can benefit from a woman’s touch.
My experience at WaveOptics has been awesome. We are at the forefront of AR technology with a heavy focus on research, so it is a fantastic place for curious minds. I came here because I want to be a part of its evolution, and I love that all of our ideas are taken into account equally.