Employee Spotlight: Grace Fox – Software Engineer

Ionoptika is very proud of its skilled and dedicated staff, who together with our loyal users make up our global community. With Women in Engineering Day coming up on 23rd June, we’d like to introduce our Software Engineer Grace Fox.

Grace has been part of our team since 2019, and in our interview we asked her what got her interested in science and what she enjoys the most about her job here.

How long have you worked at Ionoptika and what career path brought you to us?

Grace Fox

I have been at Ionoptika for nearly four years. Before I joined Ionoptika I was studying for my Master’s in Physics at Liverpool University.

I used XPS to obtain data for my dissertation and enjoyed working with research instruments, which led me to look at roles linked to scientific instrumentation.

Why did you decide to study science when you were at school or university?

I chose physics because I am fascinated by the building blocks of the world around us.

Once I heard there were particles smaller than electrons and protons I needed to know; how much smaller? How does it all fit together?

Physics is definitely a subject where the more you learn, an appreciation is developed for how much more there is to understand.

Did you encounter any hardships in your career path?

I lost my Mum while I was studying at university and found revising while grieving challenging in its own way.

In industry I have had roles both in software and test engineering and have seen through my own experience that working in physics is open to anyone passionate and interested.

What is your role here? Can you describe a typical day working here?

I am a software engineer. My working day is mostly dictated by which project I am focusing on- some projects require direct connections to hardware so you will find me sat in the test area switching around cables to hardware.

The data analysis projects do not need hardware and require focused thought, so you will most likely find me at my desk staring at grids drawn in my notepad (it always starts with a grid!).

What do you enjoy most about working at Ionoptika and what do you love most about your job?

At Ionoptika I love how much creative control we are given in software when offering our own solutions to problems.

There is no one way to solve an issue and if you can prove your idea is robust, it will very likely be used in the final product.

I love the challenge of solving logic-based problems in my role; if a customer reports a feature is ‘not working’ this can mean many things. Using problem-solving along with an understanding of physics to deduce the cause of issues is a rewarding process and satisfying to see the programs running smoothly again!

What has been your best memory or achievement in your working life and/or at Ionoptika?

My biggest achievement at Ionoptika is being part of the team who wrote the 3D analysis software. I had no experience with 3D rendering before the project and dedicated myself to learning OpenGL for some months in 2022.

To have a functional program at the end and see the positive response from researchers and customers has been wonderful.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy working with children and coach gymnastics some evenings in the week.

I also love getting out in nature and have been exploring the South Downs and the New Forest since moving here from Yorkshire.

Interested in becoming part of our team? Visit our Careers page.