Tiffany Dawson is a Career Strategist for women in STEM who has attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College and Monash University in Melbourne Australia. She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
In the past, Tiffany has been a Mechanical Engineer, Design Manager, and Engineering Team Leader. In her free time, she is a STEM ambassador for school outreach programs and also volunteers for FoodCycle to cook rescued food from supermarkets and restaurants for the local community.
In high school, Tiffany was a part of the field hockey team and captain of her school’s swimming team. She also played the piano. On the side, she worked as a supermarket cashier, swimming instructor, and pool lifeguard. When asked what classes from highschool help her now she responded, “All of them! I didn’t know it at the time but I use the skills I learned from all of my high school classes, now. There are obvious ones like math and physics, but even learning Japanese helped me to improve my communication skills with people from different cultures at work.” To add on to this, we asked Tiffany what her favorite class was and she jokingly responded, “Does lunchtime count? Probably ceramics class- it was fun to use my hands to create something tangible and that others could enjoy.” Her piece of advice to current or soon-to-be high schoolers is, “Do your best, but if things don’t go to plan-it’s ok! Try to look at challenges with some perspective. A really helpful question to ask is: ‘Will this matter to me in three years?’”
In college, Tiffany played soccer and basketball. She said, “I was really bad at basketball but just loved hanging out with my teammates!” She graduated with honors and completed a 12-week internship at the Australian Synchrotron, which is a smaller version of the Hadron Collider. When asked about her most important classes, Tiffany emphasized those which required teamwork. She said, “Learning to solve problems in a team was one of the most valuable lessons I learned.” Tiffany’s favorite class was Engineering Design and her hardest class was Fluid Dynamics. Her advice to incoming and current University students is to, “start building your network while studying at University. These are the people who are going to grow up in the industry with you! You just never know where you’ll bump into your University connections during your career.”
Before her current position, Tiffany worked as an Engineering Team Leader. Her job included making sure her team members had what they needed to complete their engineering projects, resolving client issues, and helping her team members to create career strategies so they loved their job. This job helped Tiffany grow because as an engineer she got to work with so many different types of people she wouldn’t have usually had the opportunity to meet.
Currently, Tiffany is a Career Strategist for Women in STEM. In a day she helps women in STEM create wildly fulfilling careers without compromising their families and social lives. On top of that, she speaks at events, runs corporate workshops, and manages her podcast, “How to be a STEMinist” Her favorite projects include a major building refurbishment in The Passage in London. This is a facility that helps to transform homeless people’s lives. She said, “I feel proud that my work enabled this amazing organization to help even more people to get back on their feet.” Her other favorite project was The Stonehenge Visitor’s Center. Tiffany strongly believes that her clients are the ones that help her grow. Being able to identify their challenges and encouraging them to solve them always leads her to reflect on her life.
We asked Tiffany what makes her want to go back to work everyday and she said, “I work from home unless I’m delivering talks or corporate workshops. So the best thing is being able to hang out with my two beagles every day, and with my husband, on the days he works from home too!” Finally, Tiffany’s goal for the future of STEM is to, “get more women in STEM to step up into leadership positions, without neglecting the other areas of their lives. This is the most influential thing I can do to increase the number of women in or entering into the STEM workforce.”
Article By: Sanjana Kulkarni