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In the latest Women in CFD series edition, we proudly present Vidya Selvaraju Sutha, the lead product validation engineer for Cadence data center design and the Celsius EC Solver product. Throughout her experiences in diverse work cultures, Vidya's flexibility and proficiency have allowed her to excel in the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Learn more about Vidya's journey in the CFD field and her insights for those who want to adapt and evolve in new working environments in this interview.
Tell us something about yourself.
I hail from Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India, and completed my schooling and undergraduate studies in the same city. I completed my bachelor's in mechanical engineering in 2015 from Alagappa College of Engineering and Technology College, affiliated with Anna University. After I completed my bachelor's, I worked as a graduate engineer trainee (GET) for a company that produces windmills near my hometown.
When did you learn and start working on CFD simulations?
Upon completing my GET, I embarked on a job hunt and landed an interview at a leading automotive OEM. I joined the Power Train department and worked on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. My primary focus was on CFD analysis of alternators, with some additional work on starters. Before this, my mechanical background only provided me with a basic understanding of fluid mechanics, and CFD was a subject exclusively taught to aeronautical students at my college. However, this role gave me a unique opportunity to delve into CFD in great detail. In addition to my CFD work, I performed both finite element analysis (FEA) and CFD analysis, further enhancing my expertise in the field.
Vidya's work desk.
When did you start working for Cadence (Future Facilities)?
Following a 2.5-year stint with the automotive OEM, I relocated to the UK after tying the knot. Upon arrival, I sought out job opportunities and landed a role at Future Facilities (now a part of Cadence). My current position revolves around quality assurance (QA) for data center design and Celsius EC Solver software. As part of my job, I undertake software testing to ensure its readiness for customer release. My testing work entails two key aspects: GUI testing for optimal user experience and functional testing to guarantee proper software operation.
The model represents a data center, simulated to see any cooling infrastructure failures (carried out by Vidya).
What would you be doing if you weren’t a CFD engineer?
If I weren't working in CFD, I would have considered working in information technology (IT). My sister works in IT, so I might have followed her footsteps. I considered pursuing nursing when I was younger but didn't take biology in the 11th grade. However, I recall playing games with a doctor kit, which sparked my interest in nursing.
What do you do during your free hours?
I enjoy culinary activities and taking walks in the park with my family during my leisure time. However, as I have a 17-month-old child, my time is primarily devoted to her. I strive to balance my professional and personal life, and my daughter's well-being is my utmost priority.
Vidya doing volunteer work at a park near her stay in the UK.
What are your thoughts on women in engineering or technical fields?
The underrepresentation of women in engineering can be attributed to gender stereotypes that limit their prospects. Oftentimes, engineering is viewed as a male-dominated field, which dissuades women from pursuing it. However, I was fortunate enough to receive encouragement from my father, who helped me make a career decision at a young age. At that time, I had limited knowledge about the field and feared being overshadowed by my male peers. Looking back, it wasn't as daunting as I initially thought.
Fortunately, the situation is changing, and we now have various resources like professors, committees, and groups dedicated to encouraging women to explore technical fields and develop into respected leaders. Women are no longer expected to get married and stay at home. Instead, our contributions towards technology development are valued, and we are encouraged to participate equally. In the future, we can expect to see a more equitable distribution of men and women in engineering jobs.
Vidya’s Advice on Adapting to Changes in Work Culture
To learn more about Vidya, connect with her on LinkedIn.
Read the previous editions of the Women in CFD series -
Women in CFD with Sainan Lu
Women in CFD with Mary Alarcón Herrera
Women in CFD with Colinda Francke
Women in CFD with Sarah Hope Swaim