Case study

STEM officer — Katie Hawkins

As a captain in the Army's STEM Youth Engagement Team, Katie delivers STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) workshops to those aged 11 to 14 - educating and inspiring them towards a technical career within the Army

Why did you decide to join the Army to pursue a STEM career?

At the age of 15, I had a love for sports, being outdoors and maths. I decided to join Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College where I could study technical A-levels and begin my military career.

Sponsored through university, I chose to study civil engineering and felt most at home within the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) when selecting which technical corps to join.

How did you find the initial training?

Training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) was as expected - both physically and mentally challenging, but also rewarding. There were highs and lows, but overall it was an enjoyable experience.

Has anything surprised you on your journey so far?

I've been on my current career path since I was a teenager, so it amazes me that I'm now fulfilling the role I always wanted. I've been able to enjoy every opportunity that has been thrown my way.

In what ways has the Army trained and prepared you for your role?

Being at RMAS trains you to be a platoon commander and phase 2 is a small introduction into the corps where you'll be spending your career. As you'll undertake courses every one to two years, you're technically always training and developing.

What other opportunities have you been able to experience?

I've deployed to the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Canada working in conditions as cold as minus 40 degrees. I've also been posted to Scotland and had the chance to climb many munros (mountains over 3,000 feet high), including Beinn Ghlas, as you can see in my profile picture.

The adventurous training and sporting opportunities I've been involved with have been exceptional. Some of the highlights include scuba diving in a liveaboard yacht for ten days, rock climbing in Italy and Spain, skiing in Banff National Park, Canada, and swimming in Cyprus.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of joining the Army for a STEM career?

The Army isn't for everyone, but it's very broad and there are such a range of roles to choose from. I haven't regretted any decisions that I've made.

I'd suggest doing lots of research and talking to people in different roles and across various cap badges.

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