Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have competed in creating engineering feats, which would change the way the world runs for years to come. From the simple Stone Age tools to NASA’s newest Orion Spacecraft, theengineering world has never ceased in making new discoveries. From a young age, I have always been interested in how simple machines worked.

This interest was reinforced when I quickly progressed from building simple house structures with Lego, to making a toy car that was fuelled by a simple reaction between baking soda and water. Despite winning me the science fair award at the age of 8, I knew that there was much more to learn if I wanted to build a car to take me around the school corridors. This is whatincreased my desire to learn more about engineering. To develop my rudimentary skills of engineering during secondary school, I participated in the CREST Club silver award, working alongside an engineer from Rolls Royce. Due to my enthusiasm and passion forthe subject, I was elected to become Team Leader. I confidently led a team of 9 to build a compact sized car run by dynamos. This would charge a battery and allow storage of energy, increasing the vehicle’s fuel economy by 30-35%. My role as the Team Leader was to write up the academic assignment by recording the weekly progress and to research the best ways to ensure our compact car was as efficient as possible.

We ran into many obstacles, such as the battery overheating, which allowed me to build on my problemsolving skills. Although the answer was simply installing a voltage regulator, I realised that teamwork is a vital aspect in engineering, as we were only able to solve this when we worked together. I understand that the role of an engineer requires much more than just knowledge and determination; it also necessitates exemplary communication and leadership skills. Assuming the lead role of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in secondary school allowed me to strengthen these skills. Playing the role of Oberon, King of the fairies, meant that I was working with my entire cohort to accomplish something that had never been attempted by my school before. This helped me recognise my potential as a leader, so I went on to lead the school orchestra of 60 students to play in perfect harmony to an audience of 1500 people. Being the Team Leader for my Duke of Edinburgh expedition, as well as being a Sixth Form Prefect, has greatly enhanced my leadership skills as well as my ability to communicate effectively with other people. I am given many roles as a prefect such as ensuring that the common room is always peaceful and offering any support to students who need help with the subjects I study.

This provides a healthy working environment, allowing others to succeed, as well as myself.Additionally, working part-time as a tutor for the past 2 years has also allowed me to enhance my communication skills. I learnt that when faced with a difficult problem, perseverance and resilience is key to overcoming such obstacle. Especially when working with young pupils, I realised that there is always more than one way to solve problems – this is a fundamental aspect of engineering. In the past few years, I have also volunteered at many charities including Interpal and Human Appeal. Completing a charity climb last year at Mount Snowdon was by far one of the best experiences of my life.

It is the simple yet astonishing fact that a tiring 4-hour climb to the summit provided over 10 starving families in third world countries with food for a week. As an engineer, I would strive to bring benefit to this world, but on a much larger scale. It is my hope that attending this university will allow me to be part of the new generation of brilliant minded academics, who use our knowledge and passion to make the world a more advanced and safer place to live.

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I'm Erica!

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