At school (a single-sex state school) we had a "Great Egg Race Club" where we would be challenged to set a party popper off at the other side of the room, only using the equipment in the lab, or balance a marble as far away from the table using 10 splints and 1m of sellotape. I really enjoyed this and my teacher suggested engineering.
I went on a WISE "Insight into Engineering" course - a residential week at a University which gave an introduction to various engineering disciplines, and there I chose to read Mechanical Engineering.
I did a four year thick sandwich at Lancaster University, which included a year in industry between my 2nd and Final Year. I was lucky to be sponsored by Rolls Royce Industrial Power Group, and completed some of their Graduate Training Scheme during this time.
After graduation I completed the Advanced Course in Design, Manufacture and Management at Cambridge University (now ISMM http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/education/ismm/) and then went back to Rolls Royce to finish the Graduate Training Scheme. I was then on the Business Process Re-engineering team, and looked at the bottlenecks within the factory.
I then moved to a small company as part of a TCS (now Knowledge Transfer Partnership) and completed research on Fire Fighting Equipment - I wrote this up and was awarded a PhD.
I then started my "portfolio career" and did a variety of things simultaneously, such as running a computer consultancy, playing with rockets and writing about science and engineering. I have also lectured on both engineering and astronomy, consulted on business development and appeared on TV.
After finally coming to the realisation of "If not me, who?" I successfully completed the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program in 2011 and now know a lot about exponential technologies and global problems. I have accepted the challenge to "positively affect the lives of a billion people" and have started doing this in a variety of ways - from working on how to save the world from Space Debris, to making gadgets and gizmos, and sharing my thoughts with the world on twitter (www.twitter.com/DrLucyRogers) and on my websites www.lucyrogers.com and www.spacedebrisresearch.com.
Engineering can be fun and exciting, and it can change the world. It isn't all about cars and trains - it can be used to develop techniques to get clean water to areas that don't have it, provide cleaner methods of cooking so people do not have to rely on smokey fires, and better sanitation that can prevent disease. I enjoy being an engineer, and would recommend it to anyone who likes to solve problems.
Dr Lucy Rogers CEng FIMechE FRAS FBIS MWES