I took Maths, Physics and Economics A Levels at school. Unsure of what I wanted to study at university, I attended an 'Insight into Engineering' course and was introduced to the 'real world' applications of maths and physics. Convinced of engineering's contribution to the world, my decision was made.
With my sights set high, I visited Cambridge on an Open Day arranged by GEEMA (a group which encourages applications from ethnic minorities and state schools to Cambridge), where I was enthused and encouraged by the Admissions Tutors and undergraduates. The application was made, an offer received and the conditions met.
At Cambridge, I specialised in the area of Structural/Mechanical Engineering, winning a national prize for my fourth year project on "Low Velocity Impact Damage to Pipes" (motivated by the Piper Alpha disaster of 1988). However, without a background in Further Maths, I did find Engineering particularly challenging in my first year. This became less of a limitation as the years progressed, as my College provided excellent supervisions to get me on to a steep learning curve. Engineering aside, I feel privileged to have met so many inspiring and admirable people during my time at Cambridge.
Having had a taste of research in my fourth year project, I was decided on a PhD. I secured an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) award at Oxford to carrying out research on manufacturing systems. Before taking up that place, I spent a further year at Cambridge (Institute for Manufacturing) as a T&N Scholar on the Advanced Course in Design, Manufacture and Management (ACDMM).
On completion of my doctorate thesis, I continued at Oxford as a researcher (with undergraduate lecturing responsibilities) at both the Department of Engineering Science and the Said Business School. I have now left academia to join RAND Europe (an independent think tank) as a policy analyst. In this role, I continue to do research, but with a specific aim of improving policy-making in areas that are of direct public interest such as health, education, transport, information security and defence.