Dr Therese Sheehan
Lecturer in Structural Engineering
What is your area of study/research?
My area of research is Structural Engineering, with a particular focus on steel-concrete composite structures. Prior to this, I studied Civil Engineering for my bachelor degree, before choosing to focus on Structural Engineering for my MSc and PhD.
What influenced you to study/research in your field?
Mathematics and physics were among my favourite subjects at school and I chose to study engineering as I preferred the practical applications of these subjects to the purely theoretical forms. I was particularly attracted to civil engineering not only because of my interest in structures, but also owing to the variety of careers available within this field
What inspires you to continue in your field?
Although civil/structural engineering is one of the oldest forms of engineering, new challenges continuously present themselves to engineers owing to an increasing global population, demand for robust structures, limited availability of resources, etc. New materials and arrangements of structural components must be developed in order to improve the efficiency, resilience and sustainability of engineering structures. The outcomes from structural engineering research have an immediate and highly visible impact on the surrounding natural and built environments. Inspiration to continue my research is provided by constant reminders of its necessity and by the opportunities to directly witness the impact that it has on my surrounding environment and society as a whole.
What would you say to young females to encourage them to progress into your field?
There is absolutely no reason for women to not succeed in engineering. Every environment that I have studied/worked in has been highly supportive of female engineers. An engineering degree is an extremely valuable qualification enabling you to not only attain the core technical knowledge of your chosen engineering field, but also to develop a wide range of transferable skills which you will use throughout your working life, whether you stay working in this field, or move to working in a different area. If you are interested in engineering, just go for it!