The moment I really became interested in engineering and in pursuing it as a career was when I first heard about the possibility of a sub-Atlantic tunnel. I had always enjoyed maths and physics, but always thought I would study classics as I also loved studying ancient greek. As a girl engineering was not really advocated as a career choice for me, so I was surprised by how natural it seemed to apply for engineering at university.
I have always had a passion for design, particularly the type that finds a perfect mixture of aesthetics and function. I always thought these sorts of things were developed by designers and didn’t realise how much design and engineering had in common until I studied design technology for A level.
Having grown up with two sisters and been at a girls’ school until age ten, I did not have much practical experience at a young age, but thanks to an excellent design technology department at my senior school I was soon making speakers, building furniture and designing my own mechanisms.
Why I chose the engineering course at Cambridge University
As my interest grew, I found a true admiration for Thomas Heatherwick and the amount of innovation in each of his projects. By the time I looked at universities I was fairly set on structural engineering but, having not had any real-world engineering experience, I was aware I might change my mind. Between this potential change of heart and the reputation of the course, I decided to apply to Cambridge University.
I took a year out before university, since I was only 17, hoping to get some industrial experience. Unfortunately, I was faced with the problem of being under 18 and this prevented me from getting employment in many companies. I kept up my interest by engaging with my local Institute of Civil Engineers community and visiting wonderful buildings on my travels.
Being active in the engineering community
Since arriving at Cambridge, I have joined the Cambridge University Eco-Racing Team (CUER), become part of Engineers Without Borders and, having received an IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship in August, become a member of the IET Diamond Jubilee Scholars’ Council. All of these things have helped me to engage with the wider Engineering community and I have a wonderful time being part of them all.
CUER is a student society that designs and builds solar powered cars to race in the World Solar Challenge in Australia every two years. I joined the team after the race in 2013 and we are currently developing our new car for the race in 2015. I am on the CUER Logistics Team, and within weeks of joining the team I was helping to bring our solar car, Resolution, back from Australia, where it had been for the World Solar Challenge 2013. It is such an exciting project to be part of and I am very keen to see how it progresses during my time here.
From starting my route into engineering just four or five years ago, it is incredible that I have already become part of such an influential and high-profile project as CUER. I have got here by taking chances on exciting opportunities and throwing myself into them whole-heartedly. I hope that this is the beginning of an eventful and prosperous career in engineering.