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Q&A with TEDI-London’s Executive Dean

In celebration of the UNESCO International Day of Women and Girls in Science, our Executive Dean Professor Lisa Brodie shares her journey into engineering, advice to future engineers, and why Temple Grandin is her STEM role model. 

How did you first get interested in engineering?

I’ve always been involved in engineering in some way. My dad was an engineer, so I spent a lot of my young life in factories where he was working at the weekend – I was always interested in how things were made and always wanting to take things apart. One of my earliest memories is looking at a toothpaste tube and the different colours of toothpaste and thinking ‘How do they get that in there? How do they get those stripes?’. I’ve always had that curious mindset.

Are you a Maker, Breaker, or Creator?

I think I might be a Breaker because I like to take things apart – whether that’s something physically or a process – and I like to put it back together in a better way. I would say I’m a constructive disruptor!

What’s the most memorable moment in your career?

Joining TEDI-London because I really believe in the mission of creating pathways for people to enter the profession regardless of their background. At the moment there’s a shortage of diversity in engineering in the world and definitely in the UK, and joining TEDI-London is my chance to really make a difference.

What’s your advice to young women thinking about a career in engineering?

My advice is go for it! It’s such a varied career. I never thought I would end up teaching and being an academic and now an Exec Dean. I was in the manufacturing industry [earlier in my career] where I did everything from make white goods to frozen curries. I never knew that this would be where my path would eventually lead.

Who is an inspirational figure to you in STEM?

Temple Grandin. She’s an advocate of neurodiversity and engineering, and is autistic herself. She is somebody I really aspire to be like because she’s led with her difference and done some amazing things throughout her career.

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