Interviewed in her third year, studying Mechanical Engineering
Liz did Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry A Levels.
"In the sixth form at school, I applied to several universities to read Electrical Engineering as I was attracted to the idea of working in the communications industry with mobile phones etc. I'm so glad I didn't do that now, as I have discovered that is not where my interest or aptitudes lie! I now have a strong interest in Fluid Mechanics. It is a very visual subject - you can see flow patterns, and these are relevant to my other great loves which are rowing and sailing. Applications include looking at the flow of pollutants in rivers and in the air. I am keen on the idea of using my engineering skills to improve the environment.
Rowing has been the highlight for me at Cambridge. I have been selected to be in one of the University Ladies' boats this year, which is very exciting. I don't think it is any coincidence that a lot of the rowers in the Blues' boats are engineers. Rowing at a high level involves a massive time commitment - the engineering course is so well organised that you can manage your time effectively to fit other things in. An engineering training also helps you to manage your time effectively.
I spent my gap year working with ICI and they are sponsoring me too. Their one-year pre-university training course was excellent and included working in Germany, which was good experience as I want to work abroad. Since then I have done three summer placements with them.
The students on the Engineering course are very friendly, and you get to know lots of people by working on labs together. There is no problem being a girl on the course, although we are in a minority. It is not an issue. Coming from a girls' school I never had any sense of engineering being a subject I shouldn't do. Often people are surprised when they hear I am studying engineering, but that is a problem with society."