Sharan Gill works for Transport for London as a Highway Structures Engineer. Here she recounts her journey to Oxford University and her engineering role in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics…
My parents were always focused on learning the sciences and they were great influences as I was choosing my GCSEs. While at secondary school I became interested in a career in the Army, which led me to study at Welbeck College (a military sixth form college). I joined up after A-levels and applied for sponsorship to study outside the Army. Unfortunately my Army career was short-lived due to a knee injury.
The Engineering Science degree at Oxford was fantastic. I specialised in Civil Engineering in the last two years, but the breadth of general engineering theory covered over the first two years of the degree continues to help me in my job today.
Throughout my time at Transport for London there has been one behemoth event to plan for; the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. I’ve worked on emergency projects to keep vital London bridges open, inspected structures within the Olympic Park, and volunteered as a Travel Ambassador. For me it was a showcase of almost every type of engineering and a fantastic opportunity to see engineering in action.
I have also been involved in volunteering to promote engineering careers in schools, science fairs and in various media forms. With STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network), I received a Young Engineers of the Year Award in 2009 from the Royal Academy of Engineering. Transport for London has also sponsored me through a part-time MSc in Advanced Structural Engineering at Imperial College London.
The skills and knowledge I developed during my time at Oxford gave me confidence and the knowledge to pursue ‘outside-the-box’ solutions to manage our aging and varied structure stock, to providing the solid theoretical background to help me in my continuing studies in engineering.