Student Profile: Joanna Jones

Hi, my name is Joanna and I’m currently doing a BEng Systems and Control Engineering at ACSE. I chose this course, as I really enjoyed maths and physics, but wanted it to be more applied.

During my final years of school, I got to study engineering and really enjoyed the mechanical and electrical aspects of the course, so I wanted to do a uni course that would mix these two areas of engineering, but also wanted it to be more specialised than general engineering. ACSE turned out to be the perfect department and ended up having a lot more maths than I expected - which was a really great surprise.

What did you study prior to ACSE?
Joanna Jones

Prior to university, I did a French scientific baccalaureate. The science stream I chose focussed on Engineering Sciences and I specialised in Maths. I did however study all kinds of other subjects like English and French Literature, Geography and Philosophy, which occasionally come in handy when it comes to ethics or management modules.

Why did you choose ACSE?

I chose ACSE, as it provided a blend of different engineering subjects, but was very specialised. Before starting university, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into bioengineering or renewable energy engineering and I thought ACSE was the perfect fit, allowing me to be able to go into either field at the end of my studies.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when you first arrived?

One of the biggest challenges at university is most probably managing your own time. Unlike school, there are not as many contact hours and none of the lecturers are going to chase after you if you don’t do any work. Time management is also critical when it comes to choosing extra-curricular activities. There are many more societies at university and new things to try, and choosing which activities or sports you want to do is definitely difficult. Most societies though allow you to come along to a few sessions before joining, so you can definitely try a few things before making a decision.

What is your favourite part about studying at ACSE?

My favourite part of the university and ACSE in particular, is how many opportunities there are for you to try. Besides the societies and clubs, the university offers a lot of support for working or studying abroad, as well as many other work or research options at the university. One of the favourite parts about my course was definitely doing a year abroad in Singapore. I learnt so much about the Asian culture and got to try sprint kayaking which I would never have been able to try at Sheffield. However, without the support from the university and the department, I probably would never have dared to go and study in an Asian country. The lecturers in the department are also really friendly and supportive and thanks to one of my lecturers, I managed to find a research laboratory in the university where I spent a month of my summer volunteering and finding more about how I can apply my knowledge to a bioengineering project. I enjoyed it so much, that I’ve continued working in the laboratory since and it’s been another one of the major highlights of my time in Sheffield.

One of the favourite parts about my course was definitely doing a year abroad in Singapore. I learnt so much about the Asian culture and got to try sprint kayaking which I would never have been able to try at Sheffield.

What's it like living in Sheffield?

Living in Sheffield is very different to my home town. I come from a small village in France, with just over 2000 people, so coming to Sheffield was quite a big step up. However, I found that the people here are so friendly. The first time I came, 2 people offered to give me directions without even being asked, which is something you don’t find elsewhere. Another big part of Sheffield for me was also the number of parks and green spaces. Being very close to nature was also quite a big factor in choosing universities for me. Sheffield being so close to the Peak District, also means that it’s very easy for me to just go for a walk if ever I miss home.

Future plans?

My long term goal is to either work in academia or in an R&D group in industry. However, in the more immediate future, I’m planning to do a Master’s in bioengineering or biomechatronics or a PhD in Sheffield within the same research laboratory that I have been working with since the summer.

How will your degree help you achieve your goals?

My degree will definitely help me achieve these plans, as it has given me a strong foundation in systems engineering. I have gained many transferable skills, such as coding, problem solving and project management, which will come in useful for further study. Overall, with my degree I should have all of the tools needed to pursue further education and my dream of working in R&D in an academic or industrial setting.