Skip to main content

What led you to pursue a career in engineering/science?

In school, I saw that the boys in my class were steered towards a secure career in STEM more than the girls were. I wanted to fight the stigma that maths is a ‘boy's thing’ so I really focused on developing my mathematical abilities and knowledge and excelling in the classroom.

That said, I’m also creative. When it came to university choices, I realised I wanted to apply my theoretical knowledge to something ‘real’ so I studied physics.

What advice would you give women thinking about becoming an engineer?

Don’t doubt that women have the powerful tools and talents needed to progress in engineering. Even if you feel different to other engineers, don’t let that prevent you from studying the subject – it’s open to everyone, and anyone with the creativity and desire to learn can do well.

When you progress into the world of work, reach out and connect with as many women engineers as you can to gain a sense of ‘belonging’. You’ll find there is a natural rapport and support amongst us that benefits our careers and the companies we work for.

What it like working as an engineer at Smiths?

Smiths has long realised the positive impact female engineers can have on team dynamics and outputs. We’re committed to changing the stereotypical picture of an engineer and demonstrating how embracing diversity is the key to our collective ability to improve our world.

I’m proud to be part of Smiths Detection’s women@work initiative, which organises network events to make sure everyone feels safe, heard and included.

Career path

  • BSc in physics (University of Bremen): 2008-11
  • MSc in physics (University of Bremen): 2011-14
  • Research Scientist/ PhD student in physics (Universität Hamburg/DESY) with thesis on: ‘Dissociation dynamics of size-selected water dimer’: 2015-21
  • Scientist at Smiths Detection Germany (Hamburg): 2021-present
  • Roles/achievements whilst working at Smiths include:
    • Core team member: women@work (organising networking events)
    • Member: MySayTask Team (Germany)
    • Committee member: TechLink organisation
    • Certificate: ‘Inclusion, Diversity and Belonging Champion’
    • Qualifications for handling explosives
    • Training in radiation protection of X-ray devices
Helen Bieker Carousel
Helen Bieker Profile
Quote mark left
Women have the powerful tools and talents needed to progress engineering.
Search jobs Call to action arrow icon