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#INWED24: Meet the young women behind Dyson’s latest products

Ahead of this year’s International Women in Engineering Day, we sat down with some of the young women from the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology working on Dyson’s latest products, from the Airstrait straightener to the Dyson Zone headphones. Read on to learn more about their routes into engineering and what it’s like working on real Dyson projects from day one.

INWED24 Film

At Dyson, experience isn’t everything, in fact sometimes it’s the opposite of what’s needed in innovation. We relish and encourage naïve curiosity and what James Dyson likes to call ‘wrong thinking’. The young people at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology are crucial to this – they study both in classrooms and in labs where they apply theory they’ve newly mastered on real Dyson projects, working alongside Dyson’s global community of 6,500 engineers and scientists.

31% of Dyson’s Undergraduate Engineers identify as female, compared to a sector average of 18% for engineering courses in the UK1. They have a unique, positive impact on how we innovate and solve the problems others seem to ignore.

Meet the engineers

  • Sophie Harold

    Acoustics and Vibration Engineer and Dyson Institute 2021 Graduate

    Sophie Harold, a graduate of the first cohort of the Dyson Institute, focuses on making Dyson products quieter and improving sound quality, having contributed to projects like the Airblade 9kJ hand dryer and Dyson Zone headphones. Her passion for engineering, sparked by a STEM outreach day at school and a love for maths, science, and music, drives her enjoyment of the practical and creative aspects of the role. Outside of work, she runs a Brownies unit in Girlguiding, engages in musical activities, and hopes to mentor future engineers.

    “Your perspective is so important in engineering. Without a diverse field of engineers, people will make oversights and possibly ignore some of the biggest problems that we can solve.”

  • Halimah Ershad

    Product Systems Engineer and Dyson Institute 2021 Graduate

    Halimah, a graduate of the first cohort of the Dyson Institute, is now a Product Systems Engineer at Dyson. Her Dyson projects focused on products in the market, including electronics design for the Gen5detect vacuum and mechanical design for the Supersonic r hair dryer. Her career highlights include designing Dyson’s air quality backpack in Paris and delivering workshops for the James Dyson Foundation. Halimah encourages young girls to pursue engineering because it’s the career behind new products and technologies that impact lives.

  • “What I enjoy most about engineering is the blend of mathematics and design. It is both creative and technical at the same time. I can get bored really easily but engineering keeps me on my toes and there’s always a problem to solve, it’s exciting!”

  • Katherine Magowan

    Category Development Engineer and Dyson Institute 2022 Graduate

    As a Category Development Engineer within Dyson’s Beauty category, Katherine has worked on Dyson hair clips and supported the Supersonic r’s final design stages in Singapore. Encouraged by her father to pursue her Dyson Institute application, she integrated her love for Art and Maths at school into her career. Katherine aspires to combine product design and business strategy in her career, to one day lead a product category team.

    “There’s so much more to engineering than it seems, and it opens avenues into all sorts of areas you might not have considered. My job now involves a lot of market research, finance, and business strategy – not what I thought ‘engineering’ entailed!”

  • Oyemen Okes

    Sustainability Engineer and Dyson Institute 2022 Graduate

    Oyemen Okes is a Sustainability Engineer in Dyson’s New Product Innovation team. She focuses on research and early concept projects, and developed acoustic specifications for Airwrap attachments in her first year. Her favourite project was a material reduction study for Dyson’s vacuum cleaners. Oyemen’s interest in engineering began with product design at school. She honed her public speaking skills through theatre clubs and founded the “Umbrella Society” at the Dyson Institute. She is also a DJ.

    “I don’t think it’s necessarily a surprise but sometimes I get a friendly reminder that as an engineer you can never sit still. Projects and products are ever evolving due to a multitude of influences and factors and it’s on you, as an engineer, to recognise this and become flexible to these changes.”

  • Ely Jackson

    Dyson Institute Undergraduate Engineer in Year 3

    Ely is specialising in the electromechanical stream at the Dyson Institute. She works in the robotics research team at Dyson’s Hullavington Campus, focusing on sensors and actuators. Ely contributed to the Dyson WashG1, conducting material testing for the rollers using a scanning electron microscope. Passionate about problem-solving and creativity, she discovered engineering through her love for Design & Technology and Maths at school. Ely is part of the Dyson Institute’s Social Team and involved in the Volleyball Club and Surfing Society.

  • “My old Maths teacher told us to “do something that has never been done before, or do it in a way that has never been done before”, and this has really stuck with me, especially as an engineer where a big part of the job is coming up with new ways of doing things.”

  • Tanzy Kelley

    Dyson Institute Undergraduate Engineer in Year 3

    At the Dyson Institute, Tanzy is specialising in software engineering and currently working in the systems engineering team. She has rotated through categories like Environmental Care and Wearables and contributed to the software in the Dyson Airstrait straightener. Inspired by her love for STEM subjects at school and on work experience, she chose engineering despite limited school support for degree-apprenticeships. Tanzy also leads the Dyson Institute Student Committee.

  • “I really enjoy the range of work you can do under the ‘engineering’ job title. I have been an embedded software engineer, a design engineer and currently I’m a systems engineer. Each role has been very different but always fun to get stuck into.”

Beyond the Dyson Institute, Dyson is also encouraging young people to pursue a career in engineering through its charity, the James Dyson Foundation. The Foundation’s international student design competition, the James Dyson Award, heroes the brilliant female engineers who come forward with their ground-breaking inventions every year.

The James Dyson Award is now open for entries until 17th July 2024. Find out more here.