• Explore Membership
  • Career Development
  • Student Services
  • SPIE Member-Only Content
  • Corporate Membership
Print PageEmail Page

Lalitya Dhavala

McLarens Aviation, UAE

Lalitya Dhavala

Country of Birth: India
Country of Residence: UAE
Educational Background: BTech in Aerospace Engineering, MS in Aviation Safety


The primary inspiration for me to pursue engineering came from my parents. My father is an engineer and I watched him do simple engineering tasks around the house that fascinated me. My mother encouraged this curiosity in me, and enabled me to learn more about topics such as space and spin-offs from the space exploration industry.

At my company, we specialize in aircraft incidents and accidents, providing a wide variety of services from physical surveys, investigations, legal, salvage and aircraft recovery coordination. As an engineer in my firm, I review technical documentation for incidents, repair options, associated costs and report on these.

The biggest challenge I have faced in my career to date is breaking into the industry as a graduate straight from university. In aviation, a demanding field, employers prefer experienced candidates for their roles. I volunteered my time and efforts to the Royal Aeronautical Society Branch in the UAE, while expanding my network and social skills. This gave me a platform to directly demonstrate my professional talent, thereby leading to my first job.

I wish someone had instilled the importance of building relationships with people, early on. Learning how to connect to people from different backgrounds, and earn their trust and respect, is incredibly important in professional life – while trying to find a job, or being good at your role.

I would ask young girls to believe in their dreams, be passionate about achieving them, and be persistent. Learning to be resilient in the face of failure, which is common in STEM fields, will enable you to rise above any challenges you will face.

View more 2018 profiles