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International Women's Day 2017

Dr Cornelia Doerich-Stavridis - Senior Lecturer, Division of Natural & Built Environment

Cornelia is a Senior Lecturer in Abertay's Division of Natural & Built Environment. Her research links strongly to the development of Eurocode 1993-1-6 on the strength and stability of shell structures. She is a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of an EU working group.

Tell us about your career…

I grew up in Germany and have always loved maths and physics so moving into engineering felt like the natural progression. But I was no tomboy. I was a Barbie-type girl rather than Lego. But I did love the idea in general of making things, of seeing a building or bridge going up. I finished my studies in Germany, then came to Edinburgh for my final year project and stayed on to do my phD in Edinburgh on the stability of shell structures.

It’s been interesting as in Britain engineering is not a thing that girls get in to – it’s far more common in Germany. I’ve not met many other women in civil engineering, but at Abertay there is a big female team. Out of nine staff, three are women – it’s amazing. In general, on a construction site there are still challenges for women to overcome role stereotypes.

Inspired by…

Sarah Guppy (1770 – 1852), an English inventor and mother of Brunel’s friend and backer, Thomas Guppy. In 1811, Sarah patented a method for making safe abutments for suspension bridges. She contributed to the design of Britain’s infrastructure, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Advice for young women…

Do not be afraid to give civil engineering a go. Academically, it’s not any more challenging than anything else. And the jobs are great afterwards.

International Women’s Day…

Celebrates just how far we have come. I am a senior lecturer with two young children. You can have it all. Apart from sleep, that is!