On Friday 10th of March, a group of about seventy eager students from GDST schools around the country gathered at the Royal High School Bath for the annual GDST Engineering and Architecture conference.
The event began with a tour of the school followed by a delicious lunch at Jimmy B’s café. We then had a welcome talk from Mrs Duncan, which gave us an overview of the weekend and told us about some of the engineering challenges our school has had to face, such as the roof replacement project and unexpected issues which arise, for instance, needing a bat license for building work!
We then travelled to the University of Bath where we attended a workshop on an engineering discipline of our choice. I attended the electronics and electrical engineering workshop; we had a very exciting afternoon speaking to lecturers who explained the courses and projects undertaken and also to current undergraduates. We met a fifth year Integrated mechanical and electrical engineering student who told us about the Formula student team of which he is a member. This is where a team of undergraduates make a racing car from scratch to compete in the national Formula student racing competition, at Bath they had just started on this year’s project and are attempting to make the first ever electric formula student car.
Next, we spoke to a PhD student researching superconductors, looking into their potential for use in electric planes of the future. He showed us some of the fun (and very loud!) practical’s which can be done using liquid nitrogen, including making a rocket from a water bottle, freezing a daffodil and deflating/inflating a balloon. We finished off our time at the University with a tour of the campus.
Upon returning to school, we had a question/answer session with a panel of admission tutors, from Imperial, Bath, Loughborough and Leicester. This was my favourite part of the whole weekend as the tutors were able to answer all of our questions about admissions, personal statements, interviews etc., they offered us lots of useful help and advice.
Dinner was sandwiched between two more talks; one from an inspirational physicist at Imperial College London and the other was on electronics of the future, given by a Loughborough tutor. Then we all retired to bed back in the boarding house after a jam-packed first day.
Day two started with several interesting talks, from; the former president of WES (Women’s Engineering Society) Dawn Bonfield – giving a brief history of women in engineering, Maria Lisogorskaya from ASSEMBLE – spoke about her role in the creative architecture company (the first non-artists to win the Turner prize) she helped found and the work they do.
Finally, we heard from speaker Prof Sarah Hainsworth of the University of Leicester, she told us about exciting things she had worked on during her career as an engineer, such as examining the skeleton of king Richard III found under a car park in Leicester, to help determine the cause of his death.
After this, we attended a careers fair where we met representatives from industry, including a wide range of companies such as Rolls-Royce, Lendlease, BAE systems etc. Here we had the opportunity to ask questions, meet new people and network. This was followed by everyone attending two workshop sessions, previously selected, run by different companies. The weekend was finished off by a panel discussion on the future of the engineering and architecture sectors.
Overall, we had a packed weekend full of useful information on Engineering and Architecture and great advice on pursuing a career in either of these fields.