Maria's diary entry - Autumn 2011

Tech training courses, working in evermore detail on her Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) project and networking at local events, Maria's been keeping busy over the last few months.

Maria's sketch of a little stick girl This has been my first year without summer holidays so I am not feeling the "back to school" vibe, although Bristol is becoming very lively again with thousands of students returning.

I have completed my first year of the EngD programme and have spent most of September working on my end of year report. I have been spending more and more time at my sponsor company and will be probably working on my project there, instead of university, everyday from October. Moving more into industry, I recently gave a presentation to the materials "big wigs" of the company introducing my research project and myself. It was a daunting but very useful experience.

Attending really useful courses

I've attended another handful of courses since last writing. These included ultrasonic transduction at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow: all about designing and modelling ultrasonic transducers using various software tools, and signal processing at the University of Nottingham: really useful in learning how to sort out signals obtained during ultrasonic tests. 

The third technical course was an industry-training course on a very specialised software package used for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), which I will be using for my research. I also attended two non-technical courses organised by the University of Bristol: intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship in a team context) and insight into management in September.

Focusing on my project on NDT, I attended the 50th conference of the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing in September. It was great to meet other NDTers and hear all about their work and I look forward to presenting at a conference in the hopefully not too distant future.

Networking in the community

Bristol is well known for its hot air balloons and annual Balloon Fiesta. In fact, I spot a hot air balloon or two floating over the city on every mild evening. It was, therefore, fantastic to visit a local hot air balloon factory, Cameron Balloons - an event organised by IET. It is local but not in the sense of being small, as it is the largest manufacturer of hot air balloons in the world. They also manufacture a wide range of other similar items, such as the huge inflatable props seen during concerts.

I also attended two Bristol Girl Geek Dinners (GGD) events over the summer.  One was a very interesting talk by a Wikipedian and the other was a social event. There are GGD local networks all over England and abroad and I think they are a super initiative.

Next time I write I'll be able to tell you more about my project work and what I've achieved so far. For now I'll leave you with some art. The picture with this diary entry is a little stick-girl I drew. She is an exemplary EngD student! She works independently, her work is based on scientific knowledge and she contributes to this knowledge. She passes onto industry technology that is ready, or almost ready, to be implemented. Hope you like it!