Amanda Clinton works as a Women in Engineering Adviser at the University of Auckland and Board Trustee of Professionelle.
What do you do on an average work day?
It really varies! On some days I visit schools to speak to young women about Engineering or host young women at the University. Other days I will be helping to organise events for current Engineering students, or looking at data from the University and developing strategies for supporting women in Engineering. I also spend a lot of time supporting our female students to become amazing leaders within the faculty and in industry. It’s a lot of fun – I love meeting lots of different people: high school students, university students, lecturers, and people in industry.
What did you study at school? And after high school?
In year 12 I studied Art, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, English and Calculus. In Year 13 I studied English, Statistics and the three sciences. After high school I started studying a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) at the University of Auckland. I changed my course of study a few times and ended up completing a Bachelor of Science (specialising in molecular biology) conjoint with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours).
Was your study directly related to what you do now?
Not really! However, both of my degrees taught me a way of thinking that I find that I useful in everything I do.
What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?
Don’t think about your career as a single job or job title. Instead, figure out what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at. Then start researching what kind of industries or jobs use those passions and skills. Have a look at an article I wrote on this very topic.
What are some of your career highlights so far?
A big highlight for me was starting my current role. It combines my love of speaking to young people about what they can do in their future career with my passion for gender equity, and it is so satisfying to witness the development of incredible young women leaders. Another highlight was becoming a board trustee of Professionelle earlier this year. Professionelle is a charity I really believe in, and it’s a privilege to be part of the team leading it.
Why do you believe engaging in STEM – whether it’s working in the field, studying it or just educating one’s self around the issues – is important to New Zealand?
The world is facing a future with big issues: climate change and creating new energy sources, over population and under production of food. New Zealand has the capacity to lead the way by developing new technology – we are small but have a lot of ingenuity and by engaging in STEM we can stay informed of how we can play a part in tackling these issues.
Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?
In my experience, women really care about making the world a better place, and STEM is a way to make a real difference; people in Engineering, Science and Technology are people who create the future of the world we live in. And to build the best possible future, everyone needs to be involved. Besides, 50% of the world is made up of women – surely we don’t want the boys making all the decisions for us!
Amanda Clinton works as a Women in Engineering Adviser, Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland and Board Trustee of Professionelle.
This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM.
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