I am Rizki Mahmudah from Indonesia. I work in technical support for a private company, Terrindo Bumi Raya, that cooperates with Vaisala in Indonesia.
Since I was a kid, I have always wondered which kind of equipment is needed to predict the weather. And that is why I chose the Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) for my internship as part of my bachelor's degree in physics instrumentation. That was my introduction to Vaisala.
During my internship, I learned to assemble sensors using Automatic Weather Station calibration equipment. My first field experience was an installation of meteorological and climatological sensors. In the technical team, we usually get onsite training first. We received manuals and technical drawings to learn as much as possible before we went onsite where the expert showed us how to do the installation and maintenance from scratch.
I have learned a lot from every installation and maintenance — not only how to install and maintain all the sensors, but also the grounding system and civil works. I have also learned how to troubleshoot different kinds of problems that could possibly happen onsite, some due to natural conditions like the high humidity in Indonesia. There might also be challenges with dirt, and particularly insects.
My learnings include the fact that Vaisala sensors are easy to install, use, and maintain. Vaisala also provides good customer support when needed. As we work in a mitigation area, the accuracy of every sensor in the system is very important. We live in a tropical country where high rainfall intensity can cause floods in some areas. Simple equipment such as a rain gauge can be very important here. We also have lots of thunderstorms when the rain season comes, so we also need accurate lightning detector sensors. A big lightning strike can start a fire that could lead to a wildfire. If a lightning strikes an electricity source, that can lead to a blackout.
I love to work within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), especially when I am able to do onsite work. Naturally, I continuously learn about installing and maintaining the equipment taking into account the differences in the nature of our archipelago country. On the other side, I also love to meet people from different regions. Not only with their different cultures and languages, but also different personalities. One of the most tremendous experiences has been seeing the beautiful varying scenery from one site to another, from one island to another.
I am always proud of being the only woman in this technical team. I believe I can be a force for change. Doing installations and maintenance of all the meteorological and climatological sensors and systems have been only a part of my journey in the STEM field. I continue to look forward to all the opportunities to study more in the meteorological and climatological fields so I can contribute more to minimize the effects of natural disasters. Hopefully not only in my country, but also in another country in the future.