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Sophie Harker

When Sophie was 16 she got to visit Kennedy Space Centre, where she fell in love with the idea of becoming an astronaut, but didn’t know how to get there. It was only when she met the astronaut Dr Helen Sharman, the first British person in space, that she realised that becoming an engineer was the way to get to space. Sophie now works at BAE Systems, where she helps to develop the planes of the future, that could revolutionise our speed of travel.

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Growing up Sophie had no idea what she wanted to do as a job. Careers advisors suggested all sorts of jobs like accountant, teacher and even costume designer! Her family don’t have a science background and she didn’t know any engineers, or really know what engineering was, thinking it was something that involved spanners and hammers. But speaking to the astronaut Dr Helen Sharman, the first British person in space, Sophie learnt that you could become an astronaut through engineering.

 

Sophie did a degree in Mathematics at the University of Nottingham, and then joined BAE Systems on their graduate scheme. She is now an Aerodynamics and Performance Engineer and experiments with future concept military aircraft. This means that she uses maths to work out whether designs for future aircraft will fly, and if they do, how fast, how far, and what can she do to improve them.

 

Sophie loves knowing that there are aircraft flying in the sky that have her designs she has worked on, and that the incredible technologies she works with could help make holidays in space a reality.

 

For Sophie, engineering is all about being part of a team that shares a goal to build something amazing for the future, and leave a legacy. She loves that engineering is open to everybody no matter their background.

Where to next?

Find out more about how you can turn what you love into engineering, and what a future in engineering could look like, by exploring the links below. And if you have a question or comment, get in touch, we’d be happy to help!