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Karen Bomba, President of Smiths Interconnect, continues to build on her experience and learn new things every step of the way.

Moving into a management position at the age of 23 may have intimidated most young engineers. But not Karen Bomba, who relished the opportunity and was very soon supervising a team of 140 engineers – no mean feat for a recent college graduate.

Karen’s career is the embodiment of continuous learning, and she has not been afraid to take on new challenges. She says, “the key to a successful career in engineering is being open and collaborative, constantly seeking expertise elsewhere and working with other people.” This principle proved to be vital for the moves she made in her career between industry groups specialising in different technologies.

From starting on the engineering frontline – producing military aircraft for the US government – to leading some of the most high profile names in manufacturing and engineering, Karen is a powerhouse in her field and a shining example to women looking to forge successful careers in engineering.

Why engineering? “I loved working on my motorcycle, boat and car when I was growing up. I was also good at maths and physics at school, so it seemed like a natural progression.”

But the reality is that most young girls often don’t get to see the exciting side of engineering through studying STEM related subjects at school around the world. “Studies show that girls are dropping science and maths between the ages of 11-13 years old, so somehow we need to be getting to them younger to show them just how fun being an engineer is.”

In the early stages of her career, Karen tried her hand in safety and test equipment before going onto a rotational scheme where she worked in procurement, design and then manufacturing engineering. Her advice to young engineers is therefore to “continually try new things”, which is both the only way to ensure continuous learning and find out what you really love doing.

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