Leo Kirkpatrick-Baird

Subject area

I was looking for a practical style of learning and assessment, which Loughborough offered. The course has a high percentage of assessed course work and group projects, which suits me better than other courses that put more emphasis on lectures and exams.

Materials Science has small class sizes, which means we can get to know our lecturers and they know us all individually, making it very easy to ask questions or approach lecturers one-on-one when necessary. As well as having great lab facilities, the STEMLab, S-building and West Park Teaching Hub have study spaces that are perfect for revision, coursework and group projects, which are really useful to work in between classes, or when the library is full. Plus, since the lecturers are also based in those buildings, sometimes there are opportunities to ask questions and have discussions informally.

In terms of the support I have received from the University, I have a number of learning disabilities and Disability Services have gone a long way towards levelling the playing field for me. Within the department, the lecturers and my personal tutor are very responsive to questions about the course, and many other issues such as career advice and internships.

Leo Kirkpatrick-Baird

My course brings together my interests from high school into practical applications that develop my knowledge in areas that will further my career ambitions. Assignments where we have been able to choose our topics have been especially interesting, for example, a case study of heat treatments of metal and its application in prosthetics.

I would like to go into the prosthetics and orthotics industry. The core of my course gives me the engineering knowledge I need, and as I’m especially interested in implants, the biomaterials and biomedical module options allow me to specialise in that area while still developing wider engineering and design experience.

Group design projects have given me the opportunity to actually design products and go through the process of planning what is necessary to take a product to market. I enjoy the collaboration of working in groups and together we can achieve much more depth than time would allow for an individual project.

Taking part in the Tinplate Design Competition was exciting, but also stressful when it was all coming together at the end. Our design was built in the materials workshop, so it was really exciting to see it working in real life, rather than just as a simulation. I enjoyed the competitive nature of the project and it was very interesting on the presentation day to see everyone else’s work and all the thought that had gone into their designs.

Since moving to Loughborough I have become interested in bouldering, which I do separate to the university, but I have very much enjoyed intramural Volleyball in my first year and look forward to playing again once it is possible. I was a course representative in my first and second years, and I’m the school president this coming year. Being involved with the department is rewarding since it gives me a chance to advocate for my peers and gives me a deeper understanding of how the department works.

It's hard to say what my greatest achievement has been during my time at university, but I did enjoy winning the Tinplate competition.

My advice to someone considering this course would be to be happy to share your knowledge. Materials Science and Engineering encompasses maths, physics, chemistry and design. However, not many of us took all those subjects at A level, so it’s a good idea to be willing to help other students. I have found mutual support is really helpful in addressing knowledge differences among the class.

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