My name is Muriel, and I am working as a research assistant and PhD student at RWTH Aachen University, in Germany, in the field of electrical power engineering since February 2023.
I’ve studied industrial engineering with a specialization in electrical power engineering at the RWTH for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The course combines technical aspects of electrical engineering with business and economic issues. I always enjoyed mathematics and physics at school, but I didn’t want to commit myself to an engineering career yet. That’s why I chose this broad-based course of study. In the course of my studies and during various internships, I realised that I enjoyed technical issues and specialized in this direction.
Working in HVDC-WISE
As part of my PhD thesis, I am working on the future operation of the transmission grid, with a focus on meshed HVDC grids. That’s why I came about working in HVDC-WISE, where I am involved in work packages 5 (Simulation tools for R&R-oriented planning and operation of hybrid AC/DC power systems) and 6 (R&R-oriented network expansion planning methodology: application to use cases).
Together with my colleagues, we model multi-terminal HVDC systems in our grid operation simulation tool so that they can be represented for steady-state considerations in congestion management and dynamic RMS simulations. We then perform calculations on a continental European grid in WP6 to propose and validate different HVDC-based grid architectures.
To be a woman in Engineering
Growing up, I had no role model in my environment that inspired me to pursue a career in engineering. However, especially in an industry like engineering which is still male dominated, having female role models can be very valuable and can encourage more women to pursue a career in this direction. More and more women are already taking up careers in engineering. Unfortunately, this tendency is not yet highlighted as it should be in society. I, therefore, think Women in Engineering Day is very important to make women in engineering professions more visible.
In my opinion, it is important to get young girls interested in science, mathematics, and computer science at an early age. Not everyone has to become an engineer or go into research. But I would be happy if more girls and young women thought about it and didn’t decide against it directly because of stereotypes. I think the right impetus for this must be given while they are still at school.
To all girls and young women who are thinking about a career in engineering and are still unsure, I would like to say: Don’t be put off by a male-dominated industry or course of study. The most important thing is that you are enthusiastic about the same subject. And working in mixed teams is often the most fun and produces the most interesting ideas.