To show how exciting and versatile a career in STEM fields can be, we asked our development engineer, Laurine Vernizeau, a few questions.
Laurine, you are 23 years old and work as a development engineer for didactic products at STEM and Bionics Education (Festo Didactic). Have you always had a passion for science?
Yes, in fact I have always been very interested in science, especially mathematics and physics. For this reason, I had the desire early on to attend a two-year secondary school in this field after my high school diploma in France in order to deepen my knowledge in these subjects. I then passed the selection process at an engineering university for computer science, microelectronics and robotics. During my studies I quickly realized that I was also interested in programming and robotics. Three years later, I finally held my engineering diploma in my hands - an indescribable feeling!
What are your tasks at Festo Didactic?
I take care of the technical development of educational equipment for general education in schools. On the one hand, these are tasks in electronics, for example when I create a prototype or design a circuit board, but also tasks in software development, for example when I program a robot. There are also tasks in IT, such as creating a website. So my work is very varied because I take care of hardware and software, but at the same time my creativity is in demand.
What excites you about your job and why is Festo the ideal employer for you?
What I like about the team is that every team member gives their best to develop innovative bionic projects for children and young people. This also strengthens the team spirit and cooperation. As a development engineer, I work on projects that combine technology and creativity, that are fun and educational. I enjoy the creation phase of a new project the most, when we discuss the technical specifications and begin to create the first prototypes.
What does your private environment think about your career in STEM?
My family and my private environment were actually very surprised by my desire to pursue a career in STEM. In my childhood, I was never interested in robots or the computer world. Today, my family is proud of me for having the skills to program a robot, weld, create an electronic circuit, or work on a website.
What are your future career plans? Will you remain loyal to the STEM field?
Yes, I would very much like to continue working in the STEM field and hope to develop many more products together with the other colleague from a wide range of disciplines.
Do you have any advice or tips for girls and women pursuing careers in STEM fields?
Yes, I do. I think the role of women in STEM professions needs to become even more important. In the professional world, the number of women working with computers, robots, circuit boards or the like is still underrepresented. In my opinion, women's work in STEM fields is still not sufficiently recognized. And generally speaking, a woman's work is still judged more harshly than a man's.
To advance equality in the profession, it would be nice if each of us did our part. I think we all need to support women in building their knowledge and skills in STEM fields and help them have confidence in themselves, their skills, and their ideas.