If you are female, don't be put off at the thought of a male dominated degree! I promise there's more females than you think.

MEng Materials Science and Engineering student Ella
Ella Almond
Undergraduate student
MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Foundation Year
Ella started her time at the University of Sheffield on the Science and Engineering Foundation Year (SEFY). This year gave her the opportunity to settle into university life and gain the skills required for university style learning. It also gave her a solid base from which to build her engineering knowledge.

Why did you choose your course?

Throughout school I had always enjoyed studying maths and sciences, with Chemistry being my favourite at A-level. I was always considering a degree in engineering, however deciding which specific degree to choose within the vast arrays of engineering initially seemed daunting.

What attracted me to a Materials science degree was the combination of science along with the more applied physics and maths side. The chemistry aspects and potential of optional biomaterial modules, appealing to me most.

How did the Foundation Year help you to adapt to your degree course?

The engineering foundation year was a great stepping stone to first year. I took the year due to not quite meeting the entry requirement grade for mathematics, however there were also people who hadn't studied a science before or not studied mathematics to a high enough level. The year gave me time to not only settle into university but also to improve my math skills to a university level, ready for first year.  It also gave me the right skillset required for university style learning, giving me a head start in what was required from you in labs, referencing expectations for essay writing, and group projects for example.

What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?

The combination it gives between the science of materials and the applied engineering side. I especially enjoyed the thermodynamics and crystal chemistry modules as they allowed me to use and further my A-level chemistry knowledge.

I also love how close knit the materials department is, it makes the jump from a school study environment to uni seem slightly less daunting when you know the lecturers are so friendly and always around to help no matter how small your question may be.

What do you think about Sheffield as a city?

Sheffield is amazing! It's such a student filled city, meaning there is always something to do that's catered to students. Whether that be the £1 student bus fares to the peak district, or a trip to a street food night market called Peddlers kitchen.

Another thing to note is its fantastic history when it comes to engineering. The ‘steel city’ still provides many fantastic links for the University when it comes to placements and work experience.

Have you got any particular academic achievements or extra-curricular achievements you’d like to highlight?

Throughout my second year I took part in ‘Project Phoenix’ a student led project to construct a 1920’s, single engine, two-seater Pietenol Air Camper aircraft. This helped me learn how to collaborate with engineers of other disciplines and apply my materials knowledge in a more practical sense. There are many different extra opportunities like this at Sheffield that definitely help when applying for practical placement roles.

What are your ambitions for the next few years?

I aim to continue through my 3rd year and onto my masters, and secure an industry placement for the summer between the two.

What would you say to A Level students if they are considering studying engineering at University?

Research your options, and don't be afraid to email and ask questions as it's a big decision choosing something to study for the next 3 years. Also if you are female, don't be put off at the thought of a male dominated degree! I promise there's more females than you think and many opportunities to meet more through societies, such as the women in engineering society.

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