Company: Robert Bosch
Location: Reutlingen, Germany
Education: Degree in materials engineering and surface technologies from Aalen University of Applied Sciences in Aalen, Germany
Family: Husband, Ulrich
My first job was in corporate research and advance engineering at Bosch near Stuttgart. This continues to be my area of responsibility, namely process development for micro-mechanical elements and sensors.
Why did you seek a job in the auto industry?
Naturally, after your studies are finished, you apply for many different jobs. Bosch was one of the companies I applied to and I chose it for two reasons: because the position matched what I had been studying, and because Bosch is such a good company and has such a good reputation. This is how I ended up in the auto industry.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
The fact that the Bosch Process, which I helped develop some time ago, enjoys such success today and that last year we received the European Inventor of the Year award from the EU and the European Patent Office for this discovery.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
I don’t really separate my work and private life. I would therefore still choose the Bosch Process, which is a career success. But then again, everything I have done in my private life I would choose to do again, so that is a form of achievement too.
What is your current challenge at work?
I prefer to avoid the word “current,” because the challenges I face in development are all long-term projects which take months or years to develop. I would say that the overall challenge consists in ensuring that manufacturing processes and plant technology are further developed so that they keep pace with general technological developments. We do achieve partial successes at certain stages but everything is geared toward long-term development.
My main assignment now is the adaptation of our MEMS key process technologies, which relates to the 200mm semiconductor manufacturing facility currently being built by Bosch. This plant will use eight-inch wafers for the first time. We therefore have to evaluate all production tools and processes, and adapt them to this new wafer size.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
I think when you arrive at a company after studying, you are initially unable to grasp the entire breadth of mass production and what this really means in terms of the quality requirements, the reproducibility, etc.
2003: Joined Department of Engineering Sensors Process Technology
2000 -- 2002: Coordinator of the EU project I-SPEEDER
1992 -- 2003: Etching researcher
To be honest, I don’t think there are any obstacles. I think when a woman decides to work in this area then she is obviously convinced that it is the right choice. And I think this conviction is enough to overcome problems and to fit in.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
When it comes to people that studied material engineering or a similar subject, this issue does not only concern women. After studying you have very little conception of what is expected in the automotive sector, so if companies advertised more and provided more insight into this area of work, it would help.
Are you doing anything to get more women interested in automotive careers?
No. Of course, if I am asked, I gladly explain the work I do.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I wouldn’t say there is one particular piece of advice that I can recall; for me I think having individuals as role models has been more important. Seeing people do their work well has certainly inspired me.
And these people tend to be superiors or colleagues who I work on projects with. Franz Lärmer, with whom I developed the Bosch Process, is one example.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
If they have reached the point of considering the industry and are convinced it could be for them, they should simply do it.
Are women pushed toward marketing and communications and discouraged from engineering and other technical jobs?
I think people can relate more easily to jobs in marketing and communications.
When it comes to technical jobs, women don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes.
And I think that is why the number of women study marketing and business administration is higher than technical subjects.