Paulina Pawlak

Paulina Pawlak

What inspired you to become interested in the field of Computing?

My father is so passionate about computers so he made me, as well as my brother, very passionate about technology. Since I was young, he was teaching us about it and particularly about connections between computers and people. I got very inspired and this is how I become interested in the field of Computing.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Leeds?

Coming from Poland, I always wanted to experience studying in the UK, as I love open-minded people and I really admire that in the UK there are a lot of international students – you can literally meet people from all over the world. I was looking also at Shanghai Ranking and Guardian Ranking, where the University of Leeds is really high. Moreover, I chose the University of Leeds after seeing how many societies are here.

What is the best opportunity you have experienced at University? 

The most developing and interesting opportunity I’ve had is working on my Year-in-industry placement at BMW. I was initially concerned about moving from North to South and holding a 9-5 job in a totally new environment surrounded by different people. But this opportunity has helped clarify my future plans. I’ve met amazing people who are inspirational.   

Paulina Pawlak Year in industry working at BMW

Tell us about some of the exciting things you have done with the Leeds Student Women’s Engineering Society? (WES Leeds members)

As a member of the society, I participate in different events that Leeds Student Women’s Engineering Society organises. It helped me develop my networking and meet other women that are pursuing their degrees in Engineering or Computing.

How do you think your experience with WES Leeds will help you in your degree/career?

I believe knowing other women in Engineering and Computing helped me become more confident about myself, what can be very useful for my future degree/career. It also showed me how other women work as effectively in a stereotypically male-dominated field.

What opportunities did you get involved with whilst at University?  

I’ve had several part-time jobs, I was Secretary for the Women in Engineering Society, I attended various events, competitions, networking sessions, and took part in several volunteering opportunities. I won the `Marks & Spencer Future Needs your Vision` 2019 award and became a finalist of the `Volkswagen Inspire` competition and received a `Recognise Award` for my involvement in Leeds University Union. I secured a placement year with BMW as a Product Support Intern. Finally, in April 2020, I was elected as the President of the Women in Leadership society.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer to students?

What I love about Leeds is its location – you can get to York and Manchester with discounted train fares. We also have an airport with really cheap connections to Ireland or Spain for example. You don’t have to spend a fortune, as in Leeds there are many places to discover, like Kirkstall and many beautiful parks.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I’d like to develop the connection between robots and people, also to help them understand how computing can help us in day-to-day life. I believe we don’t have to be afraid of technology, including AI, and I’d like to focus on research in this area.

What other experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

All the job fairs that University organises, as well as other societies and events that I have a chance to take part has really added to my student experience. The University of Leeds has amazing a Career Service, that is always very happy to help us. Also, Faculty of Engineering has its own Employability team that is very helpful in checking CVs and covering letters.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in engineering/computer science?

Just be open, try new things and never be scared of anything. Being a woman in engineering is great, as long as you’re confident and passionate about what you do. Explore, have fun and I can assure you – you’ll love it, computing is very interesting and gives you many opportunities.