Ever since she was a little kid, Caitlin had a thing for maths and engineering. Despite the fact that her parents were not engineers, she enjoyed solving puzzles, which was the first step for her for becoming a great professional in the engineering world.
Caitlin’s father had a hobby that made her grow fonder of motor sports: he loved building racing cars. 8 year-old Caitlin used to spend hours on end at the racing tracks changing tyres and learning about automobiles. An increasing responsibility in the car building process motivated her and, by the time she was 12, she had a large role on the construction of the car. She considers it highly beneficial for her career in to be exposed to this environment at such a young age.
When Caitlin was at secondary school, she joined a robotics club that was just starting. They participated in FIRST, a large scale robotics competition in the US. For this competition, the team had 6 weeks to make a robot perform a simple task (throw a frisbee or shoot a basketball). Unfortunately they never won, but Caitlin has always been very competitive and enjoys the prestige associated with these competitions.
Since she started participating in these events, the number of women has increased steadily. Caitlin says it was quite an easy a call for her to become an engineer due to the fact she started building cars at such a young age. However, she understands that society puts up barriers for women in engineering that must be broken down and that there are many women that will enjoy engineering challenges, especially teens.
Nevertheless, she witnessed that there were more women participating in Formula Student UK than in the US. This year, Caitlin submitted an entry to the Formula Student Germany Driverless design competition. Even though she did not win this competition, she keeps it very close to her heart since the task of designing an autonomous racing vehicle is something she had always wanted to do.
Caitlin was the winner of this year’s Infinity Engineering Academy, a competition for talented engineers in the motor sport industry, her true passion. 10 finalist from the US participated in 4 major challenges (a written test, two group assignments and a panel interview with judges asking specific questions). As part of the prize, she will be working with Infiniti for 6 months and then with the Renault Sport Formula 1 team for another 6 months.
As for her future plans, Caitlin sees herself higher up in a Formula 1 team in a few years. She does not have a favorite team that she would like to work with, both big and small teams have valuable learning opporunities for her. Another dream of hers is to work for a team in the FIA World Endurance Championship doing strategy calculations.
It is clear that nothing can stop this brilliant engineer in her very own race to self-accomplishment. I hope you find this story inspiring and start working hard to make your engineering dreams come true!