Najwa Jawahar

Associate Structural Engineer, WSP

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No matter how difficult it looks, and how many attempts you take … just give it a try.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a structural design engineer and specialise in building construction. I use my engineering know-how, my experience to solve unique real-life problems. My job varies tremendously in a typical week. I use computer models to evaluate structural behaviour, produce calculations and sketches; think about how it will be constructed, supervise the development of drawings with architects, wider design team and the ultimate client; and collaborate with a contractor to build them safely. In addition to my technical side, I mentor younger engineers.

I ask people to imagine life with nowhere to sleep, no electricity, no clean water to drink, no good quality food, no roads to take us from one place to another, no offices, schools to get educated, no hospitals and no shopping centres. Then imagine an artist with the power to build all that in their head and then use materials, mathematics and technology to transform that into reality to shape everyday life for everyone. That’s me, a structural engineer.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I discussed several career options with my A-level Physics teacher and narrowed them down to structural engineering. I then joined the University of Leeds to pursue Masters in Civil and Structural Engineering. It was only until I joined Jacobs Engineering as a student engineer over summer when I realised that I enjoy designing. Following the 12 weeks summer placement, I was 100% confident about my career choice.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

Having been recognised at several platforms for my contributions towards engineering, inspiring the next generation and mentoring younger engineers, I feel that I have been quite fortunate to have the right people around me to mentor at all stages. I can now look back and tell the younger me to give myself to never stop trying. The biggest success in life is to learn and grow at every stage of life.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

Structural engineering is so diverse; our problems are in every shape and size. I enjoy the challenge of confronting something that may sound insurmountable because I know it can be solved with some out of box thinking. I know, it can be designed, even with ambitious architecture. I know it can be analysed by translating sketches into models using maths and science. I know it can be constructed by finding the right solution for the right problem. That’s why I choose to become an engineer.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Don’t let anything stop you, no religious, no cultural and no invisible barriers to stop you from achieving your dreams. No matter how difficult it looks, and how many attempts you take … just give it a try.

INSPO / FUN FACT

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin” Tony Robbins

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