Meet Mark - the creator of 'Scalextron'
Watch Mark's video:
What made you want to study Electronics and Electrical Engineering? Why did you choose Sheffield?
"I've always wanted to help people, and I felt that I could use engineering as a way to do so. I studied EEE at college and really enjoyed how varied the field could be, so I decided to continue it on to university.
Sheffield is one of the great manufacturing and research powerhouses of the North, which is shown by the University's links to industry and research institutions such as the AMRC. It was important to me that I not only graduate with a good grade, but that I was an employable graduate with plenty of prospects. I felt that Sheffield fit all of my criteria, and since it was close to home the decision was clear from the start. It was only after I moved closer to the city that I started to take advantage of the location - having the Peaks on your doorstep is definitely a benefit!"
What do you enjoy most about your degree and why?
"I have learned more at university than what I read I would in the prospectus - but more importantly I've learned how to learn; if there's a new concept or piece of information that I need to know in future, I feel I've now got the skills and confidence to master it. That's a really good feeling."
How has your degree changed as you have progressed through the years? Do you prefer this to the lab and lectures in the first and second years and why?
"In the beginning university life was very much based around lectures and lab sessions, to give you a solid foundation. In the third and fourth years you do project work in which you can apply and expand upon those concepts - this is a chance to dig deeper into areas you find really interesting. I definitely prefer project work, as it's much more like what you'll experience in industry, and it's fulfilling to see the project from start to finish."
What did you enjoy about your final year project? What did you choose to do for your final year project and why? Did you find anything challenging when doing your project and how did you overcome it?
"I was fortunate in that I was grouped with a really strong and enthusiastic team for my final year project! We are working on an automated fluid delivery system for microfluidic experiments for the life sciences - very small and precise volumes of water, but computer controlled. My contribution is an image processing add-on which takes in the microscope images of the cells and can perform various control actions based on the user's needs. As always when you're faced with a project that you know conceptually little about (i.e. microbiology for me!) there's a challenging time at the start when you have to learn enough that you can start doing useful work; it's at times like those that having a supportive and capable team can really help."
What advice would you give to students considering their degree choice? How can they make the most of their time at University?
"I'd say that if you can spare an extra year, go for a Year in Industry. The opportunity to work in the field of your choice and actually experience it can be very rewarding. Going through university like this will make you a very employable graduate - and you'll even have industry contacts to boot. I don't think I can stress this enough - do a Year in Industry!"
What are your future plans once you have graduated? Will you continue in academia or move to industry and why?
"My plan is to go back to work in research for the organisation I did my Year in Industry with; the AMRC. I worked in composite materials research, but I found endless ways to apply what I knew of EEE to that field. The team I worked with were all great people and we became good friends - it'd be nice to work with them again!"
What role do you think Electronic and Electrical Engineering will play in the future of technology?
"Looking at the world, you don't really see any advancements in technology that don't in part exist due to EEE. It's one of the more 'modern' feeling engineering disciplines, and I think that an EEE graduate can be found somewhere at the heart of all aspects of the future of technology, regardless of industry or sector."
Top 10 in the UK
We're in the top 10 UK Electronic and Electrical Engineering Departments (QS World University Rankings 2021).
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