I love the practical side of engineering and the materials labs are so diverse.

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Melisha Barboza
Undergraduate student
BEng Materials Science and Engineering
Melisha initially didn't know which field she wanted to study but felt materials science and engineering would allow her to explore a diverse range of subjects.

Why did you choose your course? 

I’ve always had an interest in the world around me, what things are made from and how things are made. So when I saw this degree and how it incorporated the three sciences and maths and used this to discover the world around, I became very interested. The amount of choice you have after doing the degree and the amount of topics covered also catered to me very well as I didn’t exactly know what field I wanted to go in but with material science the options are endless, biomaterials, energy, polymer science, aerospace and far more. It allows me to explore subjects and ideas I never thought I would find in other degrees. 

What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?

Coming into my second year, I have really enjoyed the Industrial Processing module. It took what I learnt in first year and went through how materials are made and used in industry. Specifically looking at how composites are made and being used in industry such as aerospace and defence was interesting to see innovation in industry. Metals processing as well, was so vast and see how we can manipulate metals on large scale and then seeing its use in day to day labs. Besides that module, I have always had a liking towards labs, I love the practical side of engineering and the materials labs are so diverse, I’ve made an aluminium casting, glass, nylon, composites and worked with some world class equipment!

What do you think about Sheffield as a city?

Sheffield as a city is perfect for university! Whether you are coming from a large city or a small town Sheffield eases you into University so well, everything you need in walking distance, transport links are reliable and cheap and the Peak District is so close. My personal favourite thing is all the greenery, there are so many trees and green spots all over the city but you still have the buzz of city life.

Are you part of any student societies or project groups? 

I am primarily a part of two societies. Material Science and Engineering society and the Women in Engineering (WiE) society, where I am Publicity and Media Officer for both. Being part of the two societies has given me so many opportunities. This year I was invited to the New Scientist Live Festival in London with WiE, spoken on students lead EDI panel and volunteered at many schools. As well as this, I play netball for the Material Science and Engineering society and a part of SELSA ( Sheffield Engineering Leadership and Service Award) another programme that has given me so many opportunities through talks and classes for self development and networking. 

What do you plan to do after completing your degree?

Hopefully, I plan to work for 2-3 years and gain some experience at a company that supports Materials Engineers and understand industry first hand and also see what areas I am drawn to. Potentially after gaining enough experience, doing a masters in an area that I liked, or perhaps moving companies to see what else peaks my interest. It’s only a rough plan so it may change!

What advice would you give to a younger student  considering studying engineering at university?

The advice I would give is that all degrees are hard, especially engineering, there are long hours and there will be many times where you don’t understand what is going but it is so rewarding and if you have a genuine interest you will be in awe of the work going around you! Look at all the engineering/degree types before picking the one you want to go into, ask questions and go to talks given by current students because it’s their present and gives you so much insight and can clear your doubts. The more you ask us the better your understanding will be of what degrees are like at university. 

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