Solving puzzles has become a job
Caroline Taylor (MSc Advanced Materials Science and Engineering 2016) really enjoyed solving puzzles and problems when she was younger – as she got older, she realised that I could be an engineer and solve problems as her job.
Caroline gained a place on Instron's Graduate Scheme after completing her Master's at Imperial in the Department of Materials.
"Thinking about STEM as practical subjects that have real life implications helps to give your studies deeper meaning than learning for an exam or piece of coursework."
My Imperial experience
I chose to study at Imperial as its reputation and brilliant location meant that it was an opportunity not to be missed.
As a student, I commuted to the College from outside London. This meant I started to treat university like work, in that I completed nearly all of my studies by staying on campus during normal working hours. I could then fully relax at home in the evenings without worrying about my ‘to do’ list.
My learning also wasn't confined to the classroom – as a departmental class representative I gained experience in attending meetings and dealing with different situations.
Having the opportunity to work part-time in retail for a school outfitters also benefitted me in the real world, as I interacted with many internal and external customers.
Being a woman at Imperial
Being a woman at Imperial meant having the chance to enjoy studying in London, while also being surrounded by a wide choice of relevant opportunities and events.
For example, I attended the launch of a policy paper entitled "Improving the Visibility of Women in STEM" hosted by The London Forum for Science and Policy, as well as the annual Athena lecture and other events forming part of the inaugural lecture series. Within these events, the achievements of women were of particular inspiration to me.
The Department of Materials was also particularly proactive in supporting our career development and and providing fantastic networking opportunities – they held regular internal seminars, and organised external speakers, to keep us up to date on current research in materials science and career opportunities.
Life after Imperial
During my MSc, I was fortunate enough to gain a place on the Graduate Scheme at Instron. The company designs and manufactures mechanical testing equipment to test materials properties such as strength, fatigue and elasticity.
Within the two-year Graduate Scheme, I will undertake three placements which can be based in either technical or commercial roles within the business.
My first placement is a technical role within R&D where I am developing further design/mechanical engineering understanding.
Advice for girls who are thinking about studying STEM
When studying STEM subjects, I always like to think about what the studies mean in reality, what the practical application could be.
For example, I always enjoyed learning about applications for different materials – the practical application of scientific knowledge to real life applications. This has translated well into my job, as Instron’s customers tend to be concerned with behaviour of a particular material in relation to some specific application.
Thinking about STEM as practical subjects that have real life implications helps to give your studies deeper meaning than learning for an exam or piece of coursework.