Being an engineer you can create, innovate and be part of a multidisciplinary team that supports a larger scope.
Read: our interview with Maria
What motivated you to be an engineer?
It all started back home, in Cyprus, when I found myself interested in interactive toys such as Lego or Meccano, fixing breakdowns at home and always wanting to solve problems (even though most times the cause of these was me and a stray ball!). I also liked watching Formula 1 and I got excited when a supercar was passing by or when I was learning about a new engineering invention. I was inspired by my grandfather and my father that were capable of creating as well as fixing things without help. In primary school, my favourite subjects were both Art and Mechanics and I will never forget my teacher told me that I would be an excellent engineer as I was using my “artistic” imagination and my “logical” mathematical knowledge in harmony.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Sheffield?
When I was applying for universities, I knew that the University of Sheffield would be my first choice. The university is a member of Russell Group and it is very highly ranked in both the UK and in the world for an array of degrees but also for engineering. The website of the Chemical and Biological Engineering department highlighted a lot of industrial connections and that their alumni achieved great careers.
It was not only the university that made me choose Sheffield but also the city itself. The city centre is predominantly occupied by students which makes it so easy to connect with people and make new friends. The campus also comprises of a lot of international students which I found fascinating as I was coming from a small country. Sheffield is located in the middle of England so opportunities for travelling are plenty. Also for nature lovers and adventurers, the Peak District is just minutes away by bus.
In primary school, my favourite subjects were both Art and Mechanics and I will never forget my teacher told me that I would be an excellent engineer as I was using my “artistic” imagination and my “logical” mathematical knowledge in harmony.
Chemical & Biological Engineering Alumna
What’s been the highlight of your engineering journey so far?
Every person perceives their own highlights and achievements differently. To me the highlight of my engineering journey so far was during the second year of my Graduate Scheme where I was trusted to travel to Malaysia to one of my company’s factories for a last minute project and delivering it successfully. Spending time in a different country, meeting extraordinary people and being out of your comfort zone is really common in engineering jobs and I think this is the magic of our job.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to be an engineer who can lead big projects and processes and improve people’s lives whilst achieving a more sustainable future. I am aiming for my Chartership with the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and I would love at some point in the nearest future to manage a multidisciplinary team. Last but not least, my longer-term ambition is to encourage more young girls to chase their dreams and find a career in the engineering industry.
Being a STEM ambassador gives me the opportunity to share my love for engineering and encourage younger children to pursue a career in engineering and science.
What’s the best thing about being an engineer?
Not a single day is the same with the one that passed! By being an engineer you can build or you can demolish or you can improve an existing process. You can create, innovate and be a part of a multidisciplinary team that supports a larger scope. The way I see it, engineering is a simpler and smaller representation of nature and life; you have challenges that you need to overcome and you need to adapt in situations that are new to you.
After my graduation and joining the “real world”, I understood that the actual meaning of being an engineer is greater than “just solving problems”; you are part of a community of people who contribute on every little product or service, who continually strive for improvement and who want to improve the quality of the world we live in.
We interviewed Maria in December 2020.
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