Emma Hutchinson

Current student

Chemical Engineering
Subject area
Chemical Engineering

There are so many career options open to a Chemical Engineering graduate, so if you enjoy challenges, science and teamwork, why not study it?

Why did you choose Loughborough University?

I chose Chemical Engineering at Loughborough because I really enjoyed studying my A-levels in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Product Design. Combined, these provided a good base for studying Chemical Engineering and Loughborough’s reputation was an even bigger incentive. I was also attracted to the level of support on offer from both the department and the Careers Network regarding placements and graduate jobs.

What attracted you to the University in the first place?

I was first attracted to Loughborough’s world-class facilities for sport and to the campus as a whole. I also liked the opportunity to incorporate a placement year into the course and there are good transport links to the rest of the country from Loughborough. The reputation of Engineering at Loughborough is amazing, which was a huge selling point.

What do you enjoy about your course?

I enjoy the combination of lab sessions, lectures and problem-solving tutorials. The lab sessions, although sometimes long, teach you to feel in control of a pilot plant, while data collection develops an understanding of where equations and theories have come from. Labs also provide an opportunity to apply the knowledge you have been taught in lectures. I also enjoy project work that is completed in groups or pairs.

What do you think of the teaching quality and facilities?

Lecturers are very approachable and are happy to answer any questions you have about modules. Lectures are often recorded, which is useful for revision purposes, whilst notes are given out at the start of the year including problem sheets to work through in your own time and in class. The pilot scale plants that are used in first year are essential in understanding what you have been taught from a visual perspective. Lecture theatres are well equipped with projectors and whiteboards.

Do you have a particularly favourite project/module on your course? Why did you enjoy it?

I enjoyed studying Process Balances and Stagewise Processes as this was the first real insight I had into their usefulness in industry – for example when calculating stages of extraction and the amount of a solvent that needs adding for high percentage purity at the end of the process. Process Balances also covered aspects of economics, which was very interesting and different to other similar courses in the country.

What kind of support have you had in the department and from the University?

We have weekly hour-long personal tutor sessions to talk in small groups about progress, deadlines, university life and any issues with the course. These meetings are very informal and it is reassuring to know that others are experiencing similar difficulties with certain topics etc. Advice on how to resolve any problems is given - we can get help by dropping into the Maths Learning Support Centre (MLSC) or setting up further meetings with our tutors.

What are some of the exciting/different things you can do on your course?

Throughout the year there are interdepartmental sport tournaments and matches. Chemical Engineering has male, female and mixed teams for a multitude of sports and I had the opportunity to play netball this year. There was no commitment, you didn’t have to be good at sport and mostly it was a great opportunity to get to know your peers and people in the years above and below. Other sports included football, rock-it ball, volleyball and dodgeball. There is also the annual Frank Morton Sports Day Event, whist the second year committee organise social events each year.

On the more academic side, you have one optional module to choose in first and second year. In first year you can choose between Chemical Engineering and Society or a language (French, Spanish or German); in second year, Food Engineering or a language. You don't need to have studied a language before to choose the latter, as groups are split according to ability.

Have you completed a placement whilst at University?

I am currently in the process of applying to various UK chemical engineering companies for an industrial placement year. I hope to experience how the information taught in lectures is applied in industry and to learn more technical knowledge through practical work.

What do you hope to do when you graduate, and how will your Loughborough degree support this?

I hope to work as a chemical engineer in the pharmaceutical, food and drink or materials sector. I believe that having been a Loughborough student I will be in the best possible position to succeed at my goals, due to the amount of different experiences I’ve had in addition to my degree – for example being a member of sports teams/societies, volunteering/coaching sport, volunteering in the community and fundraising around the UK. All these extras will contribute to my being a well-rounded and desirable employee after graduation, and thanks to the multitude of options available there is something for everyone.

What would you say to someone considering your course?

The course can be tough at times but the camaraderie between peers makes up for it. There are so many career options open to a Chemical Engineering graduate, so if you enjoy challenges, science and teamwork, why not study it?

How do you find the social atmosphere on campus?

The social atmosphere is amazing and activities are endless. I am part of the AU Water Polo team and the training/social aspects of the club are brilliant. We have a social every Wednesday and I have been to many other universities to compete. The team spirit is great – joining is the best thing I ever did. I would recommend joining a sports team or society to anyone: it is a good way to get to know other people outside of your course, year group and halls.

The swimming pool and gyms are also great to use and you always see Olympic athletes around campus, which is exciting.

What do you enjoy the most about being a Loughborough University student?

I enjoy having a mixture of freedom and the security of studying at a campus university. Everything is so conveniently close, even when living in town! The Students' Union, sport facilities and shops take no time at all to get to. The ease of getting to the gym/training/meetings between or after lectures is a bonus.

Has Loughborough inspired you?

Loughborough University has inspired me to grab every opportunity with both hands.