I have held a keen interest in the way that construction affects the way things work since primary school, when I took part in a one-day CITB construction course. As part of the day’s activities we had to construct a roof which would remain rigid, and a bridge that could support a weight, and this sparked my interest and made me think about the partnership between science, maths and design. My studies over the past two years, particularly the Mechanics modules of my Maths course, have re-enforced this passion, and have provided me with answers and evidence for the questions raised all those years back, such as why roofs incorporate a triangulated structure.
The coursework element of my Physics course has allowed me to explore my interest in the design of buildings, and I plan to design, make and test models of earthquake proof buildings in order to identify ideal structures. The material-design topic in the Physics course widened my knowledge of micro and macroscopic properties, and highlighted the importance of appropriate material choice for different applications. I was especially interested in composite materials and fibre-reinforcement, which is found in the design of reinforced concrete.
As often as possible, I read issues of the NCE magazine. I enjoy learning of developments in the Engineering world, and taking a look at new projects. I recently read ‘Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down’ by J.E. Gordon. It helped me to gain a greater appreciation of the link between design in natural structure and the adaption of these ideas for a construction application. The chapter on Walls, arches and dams was particularly interesting to me, as it put formulas that I had come across in my Physics studies into practice, and gave them a real sense of importance and utility: they became not only numbers on a page, but real solutions to important construction issues.
Throughout my school life I have taken on many roles and responsibilities, and would hope that I have made a positive impact on the day-to-day running of the workplace. In my lower sixth year, I took on the role of maths tutor for a year nine girl. I really liked being able to view the progress that the student made, and knowing that I could share my enjoyment of the subject with someone else. This year I was appointed to the role of music and textiles prefect, which involved helping to prepare for lessons, encouraging others to attend school concerts, and arranging stewards for external music examinations. For four years I have been a Young Leader at my local Brownie pack. This position has enabled me to develop my leadership skills, as well as focusing my attention on time management and health and safety issues.
Within school I make a wide contribution to musical life, playing the Cornet in ensembles including the jazz bands, concert band, orchestra and choir. Playing a musical instrument has not only helped me to gain a greater understanding of the importance of teamwork and allowed me to fine-tune my attention to detail, but has provided me with a valuable life skill, from which I will always find relaxation and gratification. Two years ago I was appointed the position of ‘Section Leader’ for the trumpet section of the Concert Band, a role which involves organisation of paperwork, as well as delegation of tasks to younger members of the section.
At the beginning of my first year in the sixth form, I was appointed the rather daunting position of ‘Head of Costumes’ for the school production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ which involved designing then making and sourcing all costumes, ensuring there was ongoing liaison with the staff members of the production team. Part of this role involved negotiating with companies to secure discounts in return for publicity, whilst budgeting carefully.
I am really looking forward to all the opportunities and new experiences that university will open up to me, but perhaps the most exciting prospect is the chance to widen my knowledge of construction design and engineering in order to prepare myself for a future career in this area.
Courtney from Study Moose
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