SIMULIA is proud to work with a variety of women in the engineering field, both as employees and clients. Our new Women in Engineering series will highlight some of these outstanding contributors to the field of simulation. Today we are excited to introduce Monika Balk, a High Tech Industry Solution Experience Senior Manager.
What is your title and what are you responsible for?
I am an Industry Solution Experience (ISE) Manager for the high-tech industry. The ISE I am responsible for focuses on simulation and virtual prototyping. My daily work consists of taking care of the portfolio we offer in this context to our customers and making sure that we have interesting material to show to them. Beyond that, I am also responsible for looking into the future and shaping new solutions, which will address the upcoming needs of our customers.
What makes you excited to get up and come to work every day?
I like to try out new things, see new things and push the limits. It is also interesting to see the future of the market and, with that, also the future of our society. I am fortunate to have many colleagues who share this perspective, which creates a pleasurable work atmosphere.
When did you decide that you wanted to become an engineer and why?
I decided in the last years of secondary school. I happened to be good at math and physics and I loved cars. In retrospect, it was probably good to go for electrical engineering, considering that a car becomes more and more a PC on wheels!
What are some of the biggest challenges or successes you have had as an engineer and particularly as a woman in engineering?
Being a woman in engineering is bad and good at the same time. The surprise factor is certainly a good thing: many people are not expecting a woman to be in this role and are usually very nice when they connect with me. The challenging part is dealing with the different communication styles that can exist between genders.
However, my biggest success is totally unrelated to my gender: I have become an internationally renowned expert in my field and had the opportunity to work with people that I previously only knew from books!
What drives and inspires you?
During my internship in California, I lived in this very open-minded environment with my host family, which consisted of top scientists. On the weekends, I attended interdisciplinary discussions just for fun, because it is possible there. That was the moment when I knew – there is always another question to ask and another thing to try.
If you were not an engineer, what would you be?
What is the most interesting thing about you that is not on your resume?
I used to do competitive ballroom dancing.
What is your favorite hobby?
Sports in all forms from running to yoga, but it needs to include movement.
How do you spend time outside of work?
Spending quality time with friends and doing sports.
Please tell us how you feel about the importance of STEM/STEAM education and outreach, especially with young girls.
We need to attract more people in general for STEM and STEAM topics. However, if we neglected to encourage young girls to be engineers or scientists, we would be wasting a big potential. Looking at the demographic change and the global challenges we have ahead of us, we cannot afford to miss out on their contribution.
What is your favorite quote?
Wer will findet Wege, wer nicht will findet Gründe.
(If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse).
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