Jessica – Bridge Wardens’ Arkwright Scholar 2010

I became interested in Civil Engineering while a pupil at Newstead Wood School for Girls in Orpington, Kent.

My school was very supportive of us trying new subjects, hence I was encouraged to study the fledgling Engineering Diploma qualification instead of the more traditional GCSE in Design and Technology. The breadth and hands-on approach of the subject was appealing and made me consider engineering as a viable career option.

Studying maths and physics at A-level, combined with my interest in sustainability and our immediate environment, made Civil Engineering the logical discipline to choose. Many of the intrinsic components of human society rely on engineering solutions and processes and Civil Engineering in particular supports our transport infrastructure, water systems and also the roofs over our heads.

Being an Arkwright Scholar has definitely helped to push me along the path to becoming an engineer. The bridge engineers I met encouraged me to pursue the subject seriously at university and the Arkwright network is a useful one to be involved with. The award sponsorship facilitated some incredible trips too, including participation in a SmallPiece Trust Structural Engineering course at Coventry University, and travel to Geneva to see the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Both trips furthered my certainty in wanting to become an engineer.

My favourite part of the scholarship was meeting other scholars and being able to share experiences, this is something I’ve found incredibly valuable. It’s also enabled me to join in a range of extra-curricular activities, including accompanying the Rochester Bridge Trust to an ICE awards ceremony where they won an award for bridging the gap between schools, engineering and history.

The staff at the Trust also enabled us Bridge Scholars to get involved in a number of site visits, including one memorable late night visit to the QEII bridge, where we climbed one of the cable-stayed towers and enjoyed panoramic views at the top. It was great to get a unique viewpoint of such an interesting and important transport structure.

Follow Jessica’s journey to university and international studies.

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