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One giant leap in the right direction for Jodie

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Usually it’s a few years after graduation before we feature our alumni in ‘where are they now?’ pieces, but Jodie Howlett hasn’t even had her graduation ceremony yet and is already embarking on a career that is totally out of this world.

Jodie will receive her degree in Mechanical Engineering in next month’s graduation ceremonies, but in order to do so will travel over from her base at Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, Germany, where she is working as a graduate trainee at the European Space Agency’s mission control centre.

Despite having been interested in space from a young age, Jodie’s venture into the world of aerospace and engineering really blasted off when she applied to study at Hallam, having been attracted by the University’s links with industry and the quality and accredited status of the course.

As well as enjoying the city’s nightlife, Christmas markets and even doing a bungee jump at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, Jodie volunteered with the Institution of Mechanical Engineering while at Hallam, taking part in outreach in schools and representing its young members in Yorkshire.

She also took on a number of exciting internships, working on technical drawings of next generation jet engines at Rolls Royce and presenting her work to a quality team in Singapore.

But along with making the most of these incredible opportunities, loyalty and giving back have been constant themes in Jodie’s short career. She has retained links with Rolls Royce, supporting women in engineering at its Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham.

On this subject of women in engineering, Jodie said: “Diversity in general still needs to improve in STEM industries. We need to have more diversity because it’s important that it represents society more, because everyone in society benefits from engineering.”

Whilst studying, Jodie was one of several female engineers at Sheffield Hallam to receive a bursary specifically designed to support women in engineering, generously funded by global engineering firm AESSEAL, whose global headquarters are based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

After finishing at Hallam this summer Jodie hit the headlines when she enrolled on the renowned Space Studies Program at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. She joined students from 37 countries on the intense nine-week interdisciplinary course and believes this experience was a big factor in her securing the graduate traineeship at the European Space Agency.

“It definitely helped me get the job, and long-term a huge benefit is building a professional network with people from all over the world. The focus really was on interacting and learning about each other, as well as everything to do with space.”

Jodie is just four weeks into her new job, but true to form has already started a German language course and joined a scuba diving club, before even moving into her apartment! Even more excitingly, she is enjoying her role as a graduate trainee for process performance analysis and quality, ensuring that the procedures that people follow to operate spacecraft are as efficient and effective as possible.

On top of all this, Jodie has still found time to sign up as a mentor with Hallam. Being fresh out of university allows her to help students in different ways to more experienced mentors.

“I was on the mentoring program as a student this year and wanted to give something back now that I'm on the other side. I like working with students and hope to help inform them of opportunities they might not otherwise know of.”

And as well as being able to give something back to current students, she also hopes to gain a lot from the experience herself.

“Being able to work with others is a really important skill in any career so if I can mentor and coach students at Hallam then maybe I can bring those skills into the workplace and support colleagues with my improved interpersonal skills as well.

Over the coming months the University will be launching ‘The Hallam Collective’, an online platform for students, alumni and supporters of Hallam which will provide connections and give access to mentoring, career support and networking opportunities. To ensure you don't miss out on news about The Hallam Collective and our other projects, please update your details here.

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