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If the shoe fits, innovate

belshoes_1

Image: UNSW Engineering

If the shoe fits, innovate

High fashion and engineering don’t usually sit together in people’s minds, but UNSW engineering graduate Bel Teh has found a niche that brings those two worlds together.

Working as a software engineer for custom shoe design start-up Shoes of Prey, alumna Bel Teh’s 3D rendering code allows you to see exactly what your shoes will look like while you’re designing them online.

As well as bringing the customer-created shoes to life on the computer screen, Bel works on software solutions throughout the process from the factory floor to the payment system. One feature that she has been working on is tracking the progress of shoes as they are made and sending automated updates to the customer, for example, when their shoes have been stitched or the soles have been put on.

“Being able to see people experience and enjoy what you have created is very satisfying”, says Bel, who has been working for Shoes of Prey for five years, having started while still a student at UNSW.

Bel Teh shoe

Bel Teh Image: UNSW Engineering

Shoes of Prey is based in Los Angeles, which Bel describes as very glamorous, but she also spends time in China, where she gets to learn about how the shoes are actually made and how the factory and the company work. Having the opportunity to live and work in a new country with the support network of the company has been a highlight of her job.

The job also has other perks. “I have a lot of shoes!” says Bel, “In the last month I got four new test pairs, and I don’t even know how many I have altogether.”

Bel was attracted to engineering because she had always enjoyed maths, science and logic puzzles, and wanted to do work that she loves while getting to create products that make a practical impact in the real world.

“There are also so many opportunities all over the world and so many different industries you can enter as an engineer, I don’t think I will ever get bored,” she says.

She believes that it is important to get more women into engineering. “Engineering isn’t just about logical thinking, it’s also about innovating for the future, but without women to help fill the idea pool, society is missing out!”

Bel is looking into the future for her next step. Her goal is to get into more futuristic technology, such as robotics, electric cars, and space-related projects, like SpaceX. “I’d love to go to Mars,” she says, “as long as I could come back again!”.

This article first appeared on the UNSW Engineering website.

source : The University of New South Wales

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