Maria's diary entry Summer / Autumn 2010

Completing her degree, Maria has now begun life as a postgraduate student, working towards an Engineering Doctorate at the University of Bristol.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge Well done to Spain! I watched the first few World Cup matches as "studying breaks" and the final matches as an engineering graduate! I received my final university results in early July and was very happy with them and now I have to wait for my actual graduation ceremony, which is going to be held in December.

Beginning an Engineering Doctorate course

I mentioned in an earlier entry that I was planning to do a postgraduate course once I finished my undergraduate one. I applied to start an EngD (Engineering Doctorate) at the University of Bristol and received a conditional acceptance in the spring. Once I sent the university my final results the acceptance became unconditional - so I'm off to Bristol in October to start the four year course.

The topic is Non-Destructive Evaluation and I will keep you updated as I progress. I am very excited and keen to start the course and am looking forward to the mix of academic and industrial work that it entails.

Taking a break from education

What have I been doing this summer? At the end of June I met up with my classmates several times and we celebrated the relief of completing our dissertations and final exams. We also held an exhibition for the public to view our dissertations, better known as our final year projects.

Since I knew I would be starting another four year degree less than four months after finishing the first one, I thought it would be a good idea to completely relax this summer. I visited friends and relatives in Glasgow, Isle of Skye, Surrey, Devon and Hampshire over two and a half weeks, which was great fun and I got to see many new places.

I also spent two weekends with friends on Malta's sister island, Gozo, which as always is very relaxing. My friends and me also became tour guides for a visiting pal. We explored the Mnajdra and Hagar Qim Temples, which are Unesco World Heritage Sites and are over 5000 years old. They are engineering and architectural masterpieces and so are the protective tents that were erected over them very recently!

Bristol's engineering history

In the beginning of September I attended the "house search event" for postgraduate students at the University of Bristol. I found great housemates and a great house in Clifton so it was definitely a success. I fell in love with Bristol. It is a wonderful city and has a lot of engineering connections. It is home to two significant works of the famous 19th century British civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, namely the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain.

The SS Great Britain was the first propeller-driven ocean-going iron ship and when it was built was the largest ship ever. The suspension bridge spans over 210m and had the longest span of any bridge when it was constructed. It spans the Avon Gorge and links Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. Brunel also engineered the Great Western Railway, which linked London to the South West, the west of England and most of Wales. Concorde was also developed and constructed just north of Bristol in a town called Filton - more about that next time!