Katie Lawrence

Performance Engineer

Maths, Engineering, Physics

Katie was a Performance Engineer for Land Rover BAR on its challenge for the 35th America's Cup. This meant she analysed data from the boat and from test simulations, providing feedback to the design team - and the sailors - to help improve performance. Katie did A Levels in biology, chemistry and maths before going to Royal Holloway, University of London to study maths. She then did a Masters in Advanced Compuatational Methods for Aeronautics, Flow Management and Fluid Structure Interaction at Imperial College London, and gained a Management Pg-Dip at Kingston University. Before joining Land Rover BAR, Katie worked in Formula 1 and GT racing.

Briefly describe a typical day for you at the Land Rover BAR base.

Each day is quite different, which is possibly one of the best things about working in a small team. Fundamentally my day is based around data, analysing and drawing conclusions. I can be supporting a sailing day – following the progress of the boat on the water, running simulations – engaging with sailors and other engineers on new designs coming through and how they will help the boat to go faster. There is something new to be learnt everyday!

What has been the highlight of your role so far?

Being part of a team that can call themselves World Champions - not many jobs allow you to say that!

Why do you think studying STEM subjects at school is important?

STEM subjects can lead into a career in any industry and fundamentally form the basis behind everything. They help us understand why and how almost anything works, whether that be boats or cars, or even the engineering behind materials that go into the fashion industry.

Briefly describe what you thought of STEM subjects in school, and whether your opinion has changed now?

I really enjoyed that STEM gives you a line between right and wrong - you get a clear answer. That remains the same now.

Name a STEM topic or skill which you learnt at school that you still use in your current role, and how you apply it.

A lot of statistics - mean, mode and median - are used regularly to help me analyse data and draw solid conclusions.

What would be your advice for young people interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

Stick with the things you love and try to get some careers advice to help steer you. I loved maths and fluid dynamics and just took courses that allowed me to persue these interests. Also, never be afraid to ask, especially for an opportunity to do something; you never know unless you ask!

Give us a fun fact!

I played Ultimate Frisbee at university...!

And for bonus points, what's your best STEM joke?

Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 8, 9.