Engineering: Example Personal Statement 

 While visiting the Joint European Torus at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, I discovered how strong magnetic fields, radio waves and the injection of high speed neutral atoms can heat plasma to over 300 million degrees to achieve fusion, potentially providing a long term solution for the world’s energy crisis. I learnt how mechanical engineering is central to managing the heat transfer; this was a key experience in my choice of course. Following this, I completed an online course from the University of Liverpool: ‘Energy: Thermodynamics in everyday life’, and read ‘The Boltzmann Factor’ by E. Brian Smith. I found it fascinating to learn how Boltzmann was able to perform pioneering research by elegantly linking the concepts of thermodynamics and entropy with simple equations, despite aversion from his contemporaries. 

I actively seek ways to expand my engineering knowledge, for example visiting the precision engineering company Duckworth and Kent in Reading. There I learnt the process behind machining high quality components using computer aided design and 5-axis CNC routers, a procedure integral to modern manufacture. Another interest of mine is in how mathematical models can be applied to explain the mechanisms behind modern technology. For my Gold Crest project on silicon photonics, I explored how complex formulae can model aspects from the capacitance of electronic components to the expected efficiency of a supercomputer task. I researched the question ‘Could photonics be the future of computation and data transmission in supercomputers?’ while corresponding with a researcher at the University of Boston, Massachusetts. I took this further by visiting Peregrine Semiconductor who specialise in radio frequency integrated circuits, learning how they design, test and market their products. I enjoyed applying my scientific learning to a real world application. I have also completed practical engineering projects involving researching, designing, and building. I designed and built a ‘Cello Chair’ from flexi – plywood for my resistant materials coursework; this featured a laminated curved seat in the shape of a cello. I researched and built a desktop computer from individual components and repeated this for the school’s ‘Falcon’ flight simulator, and I will be working with a team on the next stage by configuring monitors, software, and building a moving platform.

I enjoy the teamwork aspect of engineering, experiencing university style lectures and completing group projects with other students at a physical sciences summer school at Homerton College, Cambridge, and an engineering course at Villiers Park. I also lead the school Mathematics Society, enjoying the opportunity to create presentations to pass on my enthusiasm in the sciences to younger years. I enjoy the creativity found in arts based subjects, something I am keen to apply to the design aspect of engineering. I enjoy creative writing, winning the school poetry competition for my poem ‘The Crow’. I take pride in my communication and analysis skills, shown by the essay-based projects I have done, for example receiving a ‘highly commended’ award for my essay ‘Germany and Britain: a key alliance for the 21st century?’ for the British-German association (where I focused on engineering aspects). Outside the classroom, I lead the cello section in the school senior and symphony orchestras (at which I have achieved grade 7), organising roles within the section and advising other students. I also volunteered at a nearby Shaw Trust charity shop for 3 months as part of Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, and privately tutor two younger students after school; both of them have improved significantly. 

To conclude, I am eager to pursue engineering to use my interest and aptitude for maths and physics to make a tangible difference by solving real-world problems, and believe that a degree at your university will enable me to develop the skills required to do so.