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  • 2030 age: 25 (12 in 2017)
  • Location: Lafayette, Indiana
  • Job: Aerospace Engineer (still in school)
  • Sector: Engineering

Julia has always had an interest in science thanks to plenty of hands-on experiences in and outside school, though she really credits her secondary school chemistry teacher for giving her the confidence to pursue a career in the sciences.

She chose to study Materials Science Engineering at university and had the opportunity to do work experience in two newer sectors where companies are keen to attract talent; bio-engineering and small-scale, custom manufacturing.

Julia’s main interest, however, lies in aerospace.

Additive manufacturing has had a considerable impact on the sector, reducing the cost and weight of aircraft structures

It calls for a better understanding of how bulk properties are created and affected by these new production techniques since materials are synthesised at the same time as aircraft parts.

There is plenty of space for exploration for material engineers, especially as additive manufacturing opens the door to new forms of biomimicry, the borrowing of ideas from nature - everything from the sweeping curved shape of a bird’s skeleton to the riblets on a shark’s skin - to inform technological development. This, however, is not the only reason Julia is attracted to the job.

Arguably the biggest impact of new materials and manufacturing processes has been to bring design and manufacturing closer together. As there is a much wider design space to roam, designers, material engineers, system modellers and production workers benefit much more from iterating and exchanging skills, practices and knowledge.

Julia’s company recently announced that it would be reshoring some production capabilities and investing in the surrounding industrial ecosystem to exploit these synergies further.

Julia thrives in such an environment, communicating ideas and working across diverse teams. She particularly likes the idea that while she remains first and foremost a materials engineer, she is also actively helping shape the design of aircraft which she’ll one day get to see in the sky.

Skills (S), knowledge (K) and activities (A)

Engineering and technology (K), science (K), written comprehension (A), critical thinking(S), design (K), reading comprehension (S), operations analysis (S), complex problem solving (S), inductive reasoning (A), deductive reasoning (A).