In this series, we've asked some of the winners from the 2020 NAFEMS Student Awards to give us their thoughts on what winning the award means to them, and what they are looking forward to as they launch their careers in engineering analysis and simulation
Winning second prize in the ‘Simulation Techniques - Outstanding Project Award’ is the best appraisal of my work I could have wished for. To have had my project both evaluated and commended by industry experts is as equally humbling as it is inspiring – and it is certainly an achievement I won’t stop boasting about any time soon! With institutions as established as both NAFEMS and the IMechE recognise my work is truly a dream come true for any aspiring engineer, and I hope that this accolade pinned upon my CV will help to open doors whilst applying for graduate roles.
As a recent graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, my career is still very-much-so in its infancy, however throughout my studies I have continuously sought opportunities to gain experience that would reinforce my learning. Automotive engineering and motorsport have been recurring themes throughout both my education and recreation, ultimately inspiring me to partake in both a placement year and long-term work experience within the industry. I have spent a portion of the previous 2 summers completing internships within engine development at an American based company to whom I had wished to return for a few months upon graduation, with plans being delayed somewhat due to COVID-19.
The culmination of these experiences earned me a position upon my university’s Formula Student team where I have spent the past 2 years honing my knowledge of vehicle dynamics and design – resulting in a promotion to Suspension Team leader and providing the inspiration for my simulation project.
Within the next year or so I wish to secure a graduate role continuing my work with automotive simulation, hopefully within either a motorsport or powertrain development environment – especially as the need for developing greener, more efficient technologies becomes more pronounced. I have also been keeping an eye out for interesting PhD titles as I really enjoyed the process of completing my project and the research conducted.
The ultimate goal is to someday work for a company with calibre like that of a Formula One team, being involved at the forefront of both automotive and simulation advancements.
As current travel plans are postponed until at least the New Year, I decided to make the most of this spare time and hence enrolled upon a PGCert within Artificial Intelligence. As the latter stages of my report focussed on Machine Learning for autonomous optimisation, I became enlightened as to how complimentary the application of such tools could be towards a spectrum of engineering applications, and consequently acquired an interest in its workings. The course is also teaching me in the ways of big data organisation and analysis, which will definitely help me draw more meaningful conclusions and insights from future projects.
As cliché as it may sound, my top tip for any applicant is definitely to not underestimate the importance of planning and research in the early stages of a project. As tempting as it was to start building my simulation straight away, my report owes a lot of its success to a lengthy literature review which helped to define my objectives in accordance with the latest innovations in industry. An extensive stockpile of references coupled with a thought-out report structure and the write-up basically writes itself!