Student profiles

Will Proud

BEng Aerospace Engineering with a Year in Industry

Will Proud"For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to anything that’s getting off the ground and going on a journey to another country or planet. Whilst this started as a childhood fascination, I soon realised that I could actually learn about how these awesome machines worked. Given my enjoyment of technical skills, Aerospace Engineering at Sheffield was the course which fully encompassed what I wanted to learn about.

I’d say aerospace is the pinnacle of interdisciplinary engineering. It combines such a broad range of engineering topics, from the electrics that control a plane to the way a rocket engine produces thrust to get into orbit. This presents a challenging but rewarding blend of course subjects, ranging from advanced mathematics to material fundamentals.

For me, it was the materials that aircraft were made out of that captured my attention the most and as I progressed through the degree I decided that this was the area I wanted to specialise in. Sheffield has a very rich materials history, ranging from the steel age through to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) who are working on advanced new composites with companies such as Maclaren and Boeing. This heritage has given me access to world class knowledge.

The most powerful thing the course has given me is the confidence to learn new skills – be it a technical concept or how to present – and apply them to any situation or context.

My favourite part of the course so far has definitely been my year in industry. I worked at the AMRC Composites Centre, undertaking research on the use of microwaves for curing (cooking) composite materials. Working in an environment where everyone was so knowledgeable and passionate about composite materials gave me a really invaluable grounding in the field and has shown me the very important business activities of an engineering company. My time there helped me to realise that the most powerful thing the course has given me is the confidence to learn new skills – be it a technical concept or how to present – and apply them to any situation or context.

I see myself as really fortunate to be graduating at such a promising time, as Space 2.0 really begins to gather momentum. I’m going to follow my passion for materials and undertake a PhD in advanced composites, with the intention to then enter into the space industry working on space materials. The support to develop my own final year project has led me to developing a deployable space structure. The research I’ve been able to undertake has prepared me for what is to come in my PhD. The option to specialise in materials on my course has provided me with a broad range of knowledge that I will use for a long time in the future."