I always knew that I enjoyed science, technology, understanding how things work, and a ‘hands on’ approach. I didn’t have a particular career path in mind when I was applying to university so was drawn to the breadth and depth of the Engineering Science degree at Oxford, which I hoped would give me a window into the many disciplines within engineering and related fields.
Whilst studying at Somerville College I was awarded an Exhibition, and also the Mary Somerville Prize for academic achievement. I also had the opportunity to gain industry experience by spending two summers with Arup. Having thoroughly enjoyed this exposure to real projects and with the skills that I had acquired, I entered their graduate scheme after finishing at Oxford in 2009.
Within Arup’s London Geotechnics and Tunnelling team I have worked on a variety of interesting, and literally ground-breaking projects: exploring, creating, improving and protecting subterranean structures, as well as the foundations for ambitious above-ground buildings, bridges and infrastructure. After just over three years I have worked on a wide range of projects, including the Qatar National Museum in Doha, the redevelopment of BSkyB's broadcasting campus, temporary bridges linking the Excel cendre to the DLR during the Olympic Games, and the BBC Television Centre. Particular highlights have been working on site supervising construction of piled foundations for a bridge within the Olympic Park and my current role at the high profile Crossrail project.
I have recently started a site role at the new Crossrail Paddington station, part of one of the largest civil engineering projects in Europe. My role is to understand if the nearby structures, including the Brunel train station and other heritage buildings, rail infrastructure, London Underground and utilities are responding as expected to the major works, and safeguarding their continued function. On a daily basis I work alongside contractors, client, designers, and a number of third parties, and am really enjoying being part of such a large and dynamic project team.
In London there are many opportunities to get involved in engineering outside work. I am part way through a two-year post as a "Visiting Teaching Fellow in Engineering Design" at City University. This initiative aims to provide students with links to industry, and I have found it a really rewarding and valuable experience. I entered the New Civil Engineer Magazine Graduate Awards 2010, where I presented to, and was questioned by, a panel of industry leaders and was awarded ‘highly commended’.
I hope to undertake a chartered professional review in the next year with the Institution of Civil Engineers, where I am vice-chair of the Graduates’ and Students’ Committee for London. I have found this a great way to share experiences with other young engineers working in differing roles and from a variety of backgrounds. I feel that my Oxford degree laid the foundations (excuse the pun) for an exciting career in civil engineering, where a broad appreciation of the major engineering disciplines has been invaluable. Finally, I am looking forward to discovering new challenges and projects in the future!