Choosing engineering

28th July 2021

News, Alumni news

A taste of life as an undergraduate engineer was enjoyed by 55 students attending the 2021 Engineering Summer School.

  • Wadham alumni engineers

    Wadham alumni engineers

I enjoyed learning the maths behind bridges, meeting professors and getting valuable advice about my future career in engineering.

Summer School participant 2020

Participants, from widening participation backgrounds enjoyed a varied online programme including lectures, tutorials and workshops on programming and robotics, mathematical modelling and bridge building, and Computer Aided Design and 3D printing.  

In an event chaired by Wadham’s Professor of Engineering Mark Thompson, four Wadham engineering alumni shared their experiences of careers in engineering, emphasising the importance of studying a subject you are passionate about. Engineers were described as problem-solvers, prepared to be flexible and put energy into their careers by the panel made up of Helen Macadam (Skanska) Pete Mason (Barclays Investment Bank), Erol Mustafa (Ernst & Young) and Foundation Fellow Amanda East (formerly Cambridge Consultants Ltd). Participant questions ranged from subject choice, such as why Engineering over Physics, to career choice - as how to get into cyber security. 

Organised by UNIQ and funded by generous Wadham alumni, the summer school took place online via Microsoft Teams with students able to interact with the academic sessions via the chat function and the online forum through the UNIQ portal. The UNIQ team put on extra activities around the academic programme to allow the participants to get to know one another as well as the student ambassadors who supervised the week. 

UNIQ is a programme free to participants. We select state-school students with widening-participation backgrounds, and offer approximately 50 places from roughly 500 applicants each year.  From the past five years, almost 40% (38.8%) of UNIQ students who go on to apply to Oxford are offered a place, compared to 20% average for Engineering at Oxford. 

Over the course of the programme, students take part in lectures, tutorial and workshops on programming and robotics, mathematical modelling and bridge building, and Computer Aided Design and 3D printing.  They have the opportunity to see what a week as an undergraduate at Oxford studying Engineering would be like.

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