As International Women in Engineering Day approaches, to mark the occasion Farnell is celebrating the leading women and future generations of females in engineering, with interviews from talented women. With the aim to explore how we can build a gender-balanced industry. Starting with Claire Duffield, a Digital Engagement Librarian at Leeds Libraries and despite the quiet atmosphere one would traditionally expect in this kind of working environment, she has had a hugely positive impact on those in her community.
Fresh out of university with an undergraduate degree in Fine Art (Printmaking), Duffield was faced with the arduous task of job hunting. It was her appetite for learning that led her to her local library.
Over the past few years, Duffield has handcrafted a well-rounded career in digital technology and become a champion for getting people of all ages into technology. An advocate and organiser of Code Clubs, Hackathons and Tech Mum groups, Duffield supports a diverse collective to access, discover and nurture their skills in the ever-changing world of technology.
In the interview Duffield discusses what inspired her to become part of the world of technology and engineering. She said: "I’ve always looked at myself as an enabler, because I love to help others find their passions. I do a lot of work that supports STEM and STEAM learning and I see people from all different backgrounds getting involved. Events such as the Code Clubs that we run, have families come and learn together with all sorts of electronics such as Raspberry Pis, Micro:bits, and Code Bugs which get everyone involved.
"They can experiment and learn together in a creative environment that’s not like school that demands certain outcomes. Here they can make mistakes and learn from them."
Within the interview Duffield also answers which project she has worked on has fulfilled her the most: "The most fulfilling project would have to be the Tech Mums project that I’ve been working on this year. This was created by Dr Sue Black, Professor of Computer Science at Durham University, famed for leading a successful campaign to save Bletchley Park."
She also discusses challenges she has faced such as her biggest fear of speaking in public. Duffield said: "I find it intimidating to present in front of my peers and people I respect. I do keep doing it because I know that I should ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I think that if I keep having a go and learning from my mistakes, looking at ways to improve and asking for advice that I should start to gain some confidence."
To read the full interview and others similar click here.