Civil Engineering Personal Statement
Submitted by Elizabeth
I consider myself lucky in that I've been able to travel to a number of countries on different continents, and I've always wondered why I couldn't drink the tap water in one country, but I could in another. Eventually, I made the connection to the country's infrastructure. It wasn't until I volunteered in Ghana, did I truly appreciate the importance of infrastructure. While volunteering I visited local villages and saw how poor infrastructure affected developing countries like Ghana. Countries that do not have adequate water management or electricity systems and suffer from regular power outages and public health issues as a result. I am very keen to learn more about what it takes to plan and design systems that last for the benefits communities like the ones I visited in Ghana. My experiences in Ghana helped me realise that I wanted to do civil engineering.
This ambition started during a work experience placement with an architecture firm called Calfordseaden with the ambition of becoming an architect. It was there where I first introduced to the planning and designing of structures. While I loved designing and planning the look of buildings and becoming familiar with software like Autodesk AutoCAD, I found that I was more interested in whether my design could stand up. After that, I began to focus my interest in civil and structural engineering. Wanting to learn more I read the book 'Why Buildings Fall Down Why Structures Fail', which gave me an even greater appreciation for the structures around me. I attended a structural engineering taster day at City, University of London to learn more about what studying civil and structural engineering would involve.
Teamwork is an important skill required in engineering and it is something that I have been able to refine through the employer projects organised by my UTC. One of these employer projects involved working with Guy's and St Thomas' hospital, where my team and I were tasked with designing a buggy that could hold special medical equipment. This particular project involved us having to create CAD models, brainstorm solutions, evaluating effectiveness, and justifying modifications, which culminated with my teammates and I giving a presentation to a group of engineers that worked at Guy's and St Thomas Hospital. What I enjoyed the most about these projects was the problem solving, reviewing the problem and finding the most appropriate solution while recognising the limits that were placed on us. For instance, we were given very specific equipment of various sizes that the buggy had to be able to carry, and somehow make the buggy portable enough and easy for the child's carers to store in the back of a car.
Studying Mathematics at A Level ignited my love for problem-solving, with my favourite module being Mechanics as for me solving mathematical problems is most enjoyable when applied to real-life situations. I've enjoyed A Level Physics a similar reason. I love learning about the practical applications and examples of what I learn. For example the use of over-damping via. Shock absorbers in stabilising the Millennium Bridge.
I want to combine my desire to make a positive impact on communities, with my love of teamwork and problem solving and become a civil engineer. After earning my degree, I plan to gain more experience before working abroad in developing countries. In a world where global problems such as drought, flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes seem to become regular occurrences and a growing concern for many countries, I am determined to do my part in forming of solutions and safeguard the environment and the quality of living for others. I am most interested in the designing, building and maintaining of water systems and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.