Q&A for International Women’s Day: Our own wonder woman

This week, we celebrate both Women@Imperial week and International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is ‘balance drives a better working world’.

We thought we would take the opportunity and talk to Dr. Sara Budinis at the Sustainable Gas institute about her achievements this year and also ask her to give some advice and inspiration to young women interested in entering the world of engineering.

  1. Congratulations on winning a staff recognition award. Can you tell us a little more about it?

The Department of Chemical Engineering is the first department at Imperial College to pilot a new reward and recognition scheme for professional and research staff.  Most awards have largely been aimed at academics so it is fantastic to see other roles being valued. I am really delighted to have received the Gold award. In total, fifteen people received recognition; and most of them were women.

I think it is a great way of appreciating everyone’s contributions within the department and is really symbolic of the culture of saying thank-you. It’s also great to be recognised for taking time to do activities not normally within your job role.

You also have to demonstrate certain values, capabilities, and behaviors such as being supportive, embracing diversity, showing intuitive and being open-minded.

2. From a career or life perspective, what three things on your bucket list?

I would like to have my own team!

I would like to launch a product or a service created by my team.

I would like to be able to build an app or a website.

3. What three pieces of advice to budding (chemical) engineers, especially female ones?

Just try. Whatever you are curious about, give it a go. Everything is difficult before being easy!

Do not normalize. Be grateful and remember that what you are achieving today is amazing and may have been just a dream few years ago

Don’t allow anyone to put you in a box. You can be a woman, an engineer, a scientist, an artist, a musician, an athlete, a mother, a wife, an advocate, etc. (the list goes on) all at once. Don’t let anyone define who you are and what you can do.


Women@Imperial is an annual event that takes place around college to mark the achievements of women at Imperial College.

Dr. Sara Budinis is a Research Associate at the Sustainable Gas Institute and a member of the Department of Chemical Engineering. You can read her biography on our website.

Sara is the first author of the Institute’s second white paper: Can technology unlock ‘unburnable carbon?