Harper Adams alumna, Jess Alvarez, has been a source of inspiration for women in engineering. With great drive and passion, she has worked not only to achieve her degree in off road vehicle design but to gain a career in a field she has always dreamed about. As today is International Women in Engineering Day 2020, Jess spoke to us about making her dream a reality in hopes of inspiring other women to pursue a career in STEM.
Jess commented about her initial ambitions, explaining: “Since starting on the path to becoming an engineer I have always dreamt of working at Jaguar Land Rover. I remember walking in for my interview and saying ‘I would love to work at Jaguar Land Rover but I think that's probably a distant dream.’”
However, the dream was not so distant as Jess had assumed. Having both practical skills and a working knowledge that she developed in the first year of her degree, Jess managed to secure a three month internship with Jaguar Land Rover. This gave her the perfect opportunity to showcase her skills and continue to be inspired by the industry.
Of her internship Jess said: “I spent the summer working in the Off Road Capability team as part of my internship. I learnt so much through that summer and returned to university feeling much more motivated knowing I could be where I had always dreamed of being.”
The internship was an excellent springboard for future opportunities as Jess explained, “I also managed to secure my industrial year with Jaguar Land Rover through the contacts I made by completing my internship. I returned to Off Road Capabilities and worked on testing and researching our competitor vehicles.
“However, mid way through my year, my supervisor changed departments leaving me to take on the work she had been doing up to that point. I rose to the challenge and loved being responsible for the requesting, booking and testing of the vehicles. I extended my placement with Off Road Capabilities right up until the week I went back to university with hopes of returning as a graduate.”
Upon completing her degree, Jess received some excellent news. “Thankfully, my dream came true,” she said, “and I was offered my graduate role with Jaguar Land Rover and returned to Off Road Capabilities again this time with hopes of expanding my knowledge and seeing how far I could push myself.
“I have now been working at Jaguar Land Rover for a year as part of their graduate scheme. Through this I have managed to push myself further than I ever thought possible and really delve deep into what it is I want to do with my future. Working with my manager, we have now come up with a plan for the direction I would like to take and I am hoping I can start getting involved in some more technical work while also continuing to work on planning and problem solving. I'm very excited about where Jaguar Land Rover will take me in the future.”
Should you be inspired by Jess’ story and want to find out more about our engineering course, click here. We hope to support more women to achieve their dream careers in the STEM fields; to find out more about our widening participation project, click here.