Incredible female engineers that should be on your radar



This International Women in Engineering day, we take a look at just some of the amazing female role models in engineering.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but more a chance to shine a spotlight on just some of the incredible women in engineering and how their work has or is leaving a mark on the world.

International Women in Engineering Day celebrates all the amazing work that women engineers across the globe are doing. This year’s theme is #MakeSafetySeen. INWED gives women in engineering around the world a profile when they are still hugely under-represented, with 2021 figures indicating that in the UK only 16.5% of engineers are women.


Air Marshal Dame Sue Gray was Director General of the Defence Safety Authority from 2019 to 2022 – leading the regulation and assurance of military equipment and activity across Air, Land and Sea.

With her promotion to Air Marshal in 2019, Sue became the most senior female officer ever to serve in the British Armed Forces.

Air Marshal Gray joined the Royal Air Force in August 1985 and has worked in a variety of roles within the RAF including: engineering on VC10 Transport aircraft, an extensive period with the Joint Helicopter Force during which time she deployed on both Gulf Wars, tours within the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation, leading the Combat Clothing Project Team and more recently leading the department delivering engineering and logistics support for fighter, training and Remotely Piloted aircraft for all the Armed Services.   

She is a passionate STEM advocate and mentor – she is also a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering.


Hannah Schmitz is a British engineer, who is the first strategy engineer for Formula One team, Red Bull Racing.

In 2009, Schmitz obtained a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on optimization theory, regression analysis, and statistical models at the University of Cambridge.

After her studies, Schmitz started working for Red Bull as a model and simulation engineer, only a year and a half later she was appointed senior strategy engineer.

 In 2021, Schmitz took her place in Red Bull’s management team when she was promoted to first strategy engineer and works closely with the team’s chief strategist Will Courtenay.


Vandi Verma is the Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, and the Assistant Section Manager for Mobility and Robotics Systems at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She specializes in space robotics, autonomous robots and robotic operations. She has worked on a number of Space Robotics and Artificial Intelligence research and technology development tasks and has designed, developed, and operated rovers on Mars, the Arctic, Antarctica, and the Atacama Desert.

She has been working at NASA since graduating with a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. She works on new capabilities from early design, through development, testing and launch, to landing and surface operations. Since 2008 she has been driving rovers on Mars (Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and soon Perseverance) and operating the robotic arm and sampling system as a Rover Planner. She enjoys coding and has written flight software that runs onboard Curiosity and Perseverance, and simulation software used in operations.


With degrees from Stanford in Symbolic Systems and Computer Science, Marissa Mayer became Google’s 20th employee and first female engineer. She started out writing code and overseeing small teams of engineers, developing and designing Google’s search offerings.

She went on to serve as president and chief executive officer of Yahoo from 2012 to 2017.

After leaving Yahoo, Marissa founded Sunshine, which automates “mundane tasks” like managing contacts and remembering birthdays and has released two apps.


Vinita Marwaha Madill is an advocate for women in STEM, with a drive to inspire the next generation. Vinita is a space engineer and Founder of Rocket Women.

She is passionate about human spaceflight and exploration and as Project Manager and Business Development Lead at Mission Control Space Services in Canada, Vinita is also focused on lunar exploration missions and leading space health initiatives.

Vinita was previously based at the European Space Agency as a contractor working on future human spaceflight projects as a Space Operations Engineer, mainly for the European Robotic Arm (ERA) project – a new robotic arm designed to support astronauts during spacewalks and install new parts of the International Space Station (ISS), due to be launched in 2021.

Vinita has also been involved in spacesuit design for the European Space Agency (ESA) along with working as an Operations Engineer for the International Space Station at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Being based at Germany’s version of “Mission Control”, she guided astronauts through experiments on the ISS and was involved in astronaut training.

In 2012, Vinita founded the global platform Rocket Women, which aims to inspire women around the world and provide advice on working in the space and technology industries, along with providing a scholarship for women in STEM through its apparel proceeds. Vinita was fortunate to be named as one of the top 100 Most Influential Women Leaders in Engineering in the UK & Europe by the Financial Times 2019, nominated for the Women of the Year awards in the UK and features in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s This is Engineering campaign to change the stereotype of engineering.

Presently, through Rocket Women, Vinita is focused on developing space outreach projects globally to inspire the next generation with global clients including Morgan Stanley, CNN Courageous Studios and UNBOXED.


Debbie Sterling is an American engineer and founder and CEO of GoldieBlox.

GoldieBlox is on a mission to reach girls at a young age, and introduce them to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. GoldieBlox’s creates shows that inspire, toys that teach and creative campaigns that celebrate diverse, badass female STEM role models that still – to this day – are incredibly rare to see.

Debbie was named Time’s Person of the Moment and Business Insider’s 30 Women Who Are Changing The World.

In 2015, Debbie was inducted as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship under the Obama administration and honoured by the National Women’s History Museum with a “Living Legacy” Award for her work to empower girls around the world. 


Katya is a Mexican electrical engineer and was co-host of Netflix’s YouTube series, Netflix IRL.

Katya worked at NASA, first as an intern during her undergraduate degree, then later as a test lead for the Europa Clipper Ground Support Equipment group. Katya worked on five NASA missions, including Perseverance and Europa Clipper.

In 2022, Katya became the first Mexican-born Woman in Space after being selected by Space for Humanity for a mission to analyse the ‘Overview Effect’.

Katya was recently honoured with a Barbie on International Women’s Day.


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