International Women in Engineering Day 2022 – Meet Alex Altobelli

International Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.

Meet Alex — engineer, adventurer, and STEMFest InsectBot Space Competition judge!

Alex Altobelli is a Systems Engineer at Beca Applied Technologies currently working across a wide range of projects across the defence and commercial aerospace industry. Prior to moving to New Zealand, she worked in various roles from test engineering to aerodynamicist. She was introduced to engineering through a high school model rocket competition and never looked back!

Beca is a sponsor of STEMFest 2022 and has been supporting the Festival since 2019.

What’s the single best piece of advice you ever received?

Be assertive. Seek out opportunities and advocate for yourself. It has helped me learn and experience things I might have never tried. It also helped me become more confident in myself and my abilities.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?

Moving to New Zealand. I moved here without a job and only knowing one person, but I have since found an amazing community and many opportunities.

What hobby have you always wanted to develop?

Rock climbing. It always intrigued me, but I was scared to try it because I didn’t know anyone who could teach me. A few years ago, I finally got the courage to take classes and found I really enjoyed it. I also met new friends along the way!

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

Graduating from university with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. During my studies I really struggled with a few of my science courses, especially Chemistry and Physics. I went to all the tutoring sessions but it still wasn’t clicking. I even had a professor tell me “hmm maybe this engineering thing isn’t for you.” Despite all the challenges I knew that engineering was the route for me. I pushed through, learned different studying techniques and was able to graduate and find a great job in the aerospace industry.

Did you like school?

I always liked school, however science classes didn’t come easy to me. I loved history and was a bookworm, but it wasn’t until I got hands on experience in high school did I realize that math and science was actually really interesting.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an engineer?

No, in high school I thought I would become a teacher, but in Year 12 I got involved with my school’s after school model rocketry team. I thought it would be an easy way to complete my required science project, but it ended up becoming a passion and showed me that engineering could be an option.

What would a perfect day look like for you?

I would wake up and have a big breakfast before heading out on a hike somewhere in the mountains. I’d take lunch with me and enjoy the view before heading back home. Once home I would make dinner with my partner before capping the night with a bowl of ice cream and a good book.

Finally, what are the three things you would bring with you to a mission on Mars?

Assuming I am not the first/only person going:

  1. A kindle with as many books downloaded as possible
  2. Solar Panels (to charge said kindle and any other devices)
  3. Seeds to grow my favourite fruits and veggies, I love to garden!

Thank you Alex for taking the time to share some insights with us. You can connect with Alex on Linkedin.