Through my love of science and maths throughout secondary school I knew I wanted to study engineering; however I had no idea what type. When I came to look around Loughborough, I stumbled across the Department of Materials and suddenly it clicked that this was the industry I wanted to be in! The engineering behind the materials we come across day to day seemed captivating to me. I was struck by how Materials Engineering is of utmost importance in every single engineering industry, meaning the career options after university were endless. The course modules looked to have the perfect balance of content in maths, mechanics, chemistry, physics and materials science. This would give me a solid grounding in engineering principals; I had found my passion!
The facilities on Loughborough campus are excellent and have really enhanced my learning experience. The STEMLab and LMCC (Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre) allowed me to use multiple types of lab equipment, putting the theory I learnt into practice. This has given me a greater understanding of materials and helped to grow my practical, hands-on skills.
Within the Department of Materials, every lecturer has always been more than happy to sit down and help me better understand the module content. This support has been endlessly helpful throughout my time at Loughborough. The department also provides access to the Maths Learning Support Centre which ensures that students without a similar maths background are not disadvantaged. Furthermore, the department has excellent support for student’s welfare and mental wellbeing being.
My dream is to use my materials engineering knowledge within the sports engineering industry, as then I can combine my passion for materials engineering with my passion for sport. I do find it fascinating how sports equipment can significantly improve an athlete’s performance. Therefore, I am now going onto to complete an MSc in Sports Engineering.
The Careers Centre on campus significantly helped me in applying for this master’s. They are happy to help and give constructive advice, this enabled me to be confident in my application. They also helped me massively when applying for placements and preparing for assessments and interviews, aiding me in securing my placement at JCB.
I have thoroughly enjoyed final year and getting stuck into some really interesting content. Throughout part A and B we learnt all the baseline knowledge there is to know in Materials Engineering. This meant that in final year we got to do some really interesting modules, for example: Automotive Crash Protection, Biomedical Component Design, Composite Materials and Surface Engineering. I also thoroughly enjoyed having my own final year project and carrying out research that no one else had done before!
Between my second and third year I completed a 12-month placement at JCB, who manufacture equipment for construction, agriculture, waste handling, and demolition. Within this undergraduate scheme I completed three 4-month placements.
My first placement was within Polymer Engineering at their Group Research Business Unit. Here I worked with FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D Printers and provided prototype polymer parts to all JCB business units. I also changed and improved the way in which JCB used polymers by creating an informative and user-friendly JCB Polymer Standard on Excel and additionally put these polymers onto NX, to produce a structured and connected system.
My second placement was within Design Engineering at their Cabs Business Unit. Here, I used Siemens NX on a daily basis and helped develop the final design changes to the JCB Loadall Next Generation Cab. My last placement was within Development Engineering at their Earthmovers Business Unit. I gained experience in driving and testing machinery, therefore acquiring a great deal of practical skills. I increased my overall knowledge of the components within the machinery used and learnt how to use a great deal of new testing equipment and analytic software.
One of the best things I’ve had the chance to take part in has been through the Student Union’s Rag challenge to climb Kilimanjaro! Throughout my final year I raised £3,472 for the charity Hope For Children. Also, during my first, second and final year I was the Programme Representative for my course. Which involved me supporting fellow students in their learning experience, enabling me to help, solve and improve problems within the department. Additionally, during my second year I was Chair of the Department of Materials, meaning I oversaw and managed the recreational side of the department, like socials and Rag events! I also enjoyed being a Peer Mentor to the first-year Materials students in my second year. These all look great on your CV too!
Throughout my four years at Loughborough University, I trained and competed with the University’s Athletics Union Ultimate Frisbee team. Through this I trained multiple times a week, went to tournaments most weekends and most importantly made some of the most amazing friends. Being a part of this family played a huge part in my Loughborough experience.
Loughborough has repeatedly inspired me to become the best possible version of myself, through repeatedly giving me opportunities and supporting me when I took them! The family atmosphere has really allowed me to achieve things I never thought I could. My greatest achievement was getting a mark of 71% in my Final Year Project, which was researching “New Materials for Additive Manufacturing of Ceramic Green Bodies”. Through this I used new equipment including XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) and Water Contact Angle to analyse the samples produced.
My advice for anyone thinking about studying this course is to become comfortable getting help from lecturers outside of timetabled contact hours. Take up every opportunity to attend career fairs and give yourself plenty of time to complete coursework.