My advice to students considering EEE is to DO IT!

Headshot of EEE Alumna Mekhola
Graduate Power Solutions Engineer - ARM
Electrical and Electronics Engineering with a Year in Industry (MEng)
Mekhola chose to study EEE after an internship sparked her interest in all things electronic and electrical which has led to her position as a Graduate engineer at ARM. Whilst at University she enjoyed a year's placement at Rolls Royce and was awarded the Frank Benson prize for her involvement in promoting STEM in outreach activities.

I've always had an interest in mathematics and physics which led me to choose my A-Level subjects - further maths, maths, physics, and chemistry. Over the summer of 2014, I decided to undertake a Nuffield Research Placement with the topic of Filter Technology under the tutelage of Dr Zhang at Anglia Ruskin University. During this internship I built a notch filter at 50Hz using Multisim to construct circuit diagrams and tested them with theoretically modelled components. I really enjoyed this experience and was awarded the gold crest award by Nuffield and the British Science Association. This opportunity also guided my decision of pursuing EEE at university as I enjoyed studying the topics that were provided to me by Professor Zhang. 

 Although I applied to Sheffield through Clearing, this was of great sentimental value to my family as my grandfather had worked with TATA Steel in Jamshedpur, India, for numerous years where Sheffield University was highly regarded for engineering. After applying for the MEng course I was able to come for an interview and open day around the campus. I met Professor John David on my first visit and speaking to him about the course made me feel very welcome and excited to become a part of the EEE department. Visiting the labs in the diamond were also really impressive as we were the first batch of students who would be using them. Overall, the city felt like a second home very quickly and I am really proud to be a Sheffield graduate. 

My final year was my favourite throughout my time in Sheffield because I thoroughly enjoyed every module I chose. Nanoscale Electronics was what pushed me to apply for the graduate job I am currently doing. The help that I received from professors has also been remarkable and I feel grateful to the EEE department and the Careers Services at UoS for supporting me through every application I made (which was a lot!). More specifically, when I suddenly decided to pursue a year in industry in my third year, I was guided through the whole UKESF process by Prof James Green with regular feedback and advice. Throughout my year at Rolls Royce I still felt well connected to the university because there were regular check-ins and I was able to discuss my experience with people from the EEE department whenever required.                                     

When I moved up for university the main difference I experienced was embracing my culture even more. Growing up in Cambridgeshire as an Indian meant I could often feel that I was a part of the minority - which is natural, but can be quite intimidating and overwhelming sometimes. However, moving to Sheffield and connecting with international students from various parts of the world was such a bright change and made me feel more comfortable in my own skin than I had ever been before. More specifically in the EEE department there are many Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian students and professors who I had the pleasure of meeting.     

Academically, I think I am most proud of myself for obtaining a first class honours because I am quite a nervous person when it comes to exams since it is a one-day game. But getting good results at university is an extremely rewarding feeling and I am glad I could experience it! Aside from that, I am proud of the person I have become in the last 5 years. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident with who I am now and I believe Sheffield University has influenced that aspect greatly. It has also been a blessing to have been surrounded by some of the best people I have met so far whom I hope to stay in contact with in the future. 

Being awarded the Frank Benson prize was such a pleasant surprise - especially while graduating amidst the pandemic lockdown! This prize was for the contribution to the wellbeing of the EEE community and I believe it was awarded to me because of my involvement with the STEM and Year in Industry ambassador activities. Throughout uni I was involved in a lot of the university events promoting STEM and/or EEE to both primary and high school students. I had the opportunity to speak to parents and prospective Sheffield University applicants to discuss what life at Sheffield was like. This was an easy job because it didn't even feel like a job in the first place! I have always had plenty of amazing things to say about both the city of Sheffield as well as the university - portraying my degree and the university in a good light is the least I could do. 

The only advice I would give students who are considering a course with EEE is: DO IT (and make the most of the resources that are given to you while you are there!). As soon as you get to uni, time flies so there is no time to be lazy. By talking to everyone in the department, the careers services, and other students, you really can maximise your chances of having a great time at uni while getting a solid career path sorted! Just being proactive and asking for help can take you a long way. Also applying for internships every year is a good idea. Some years you might not get lucky but there are so many resources that can help you secure those placements and they end up being great for your CV and really good practise for the important interviews and tests you have to do after graduating!

As a Graduate Power Solutions engineer I have recently started my program in the Physical Implementation CPU team in Central Engineering. This involves following the whole design flow from RTL and synthesis all the way to tapeout for manufacturing. More specifically, I have a focus on power optimisation, estimation, and analysis. I applied for this job after I realised my interest in technology nodes and power consumption in the 'Nanoscale Electronics' module taught by Prof Hopkinson in my final year at university. Therefore, the module was very useful when preparing for my technical interview! In the next few years I hope to progress smoothly into the Productivity Engineering group at ARM as a Power Solutions Engineer and travel around the global offices gaining as much experience as possible. 

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