May 23, 2006

University

Now nearing the end of my first year at Warwick, there hasn't been much happened that's relevan for this PDP. One thing that has been interesting, and good fun, was being group leader on a project. The task was to make a line following robot, using a kit chassis and sensors and designing and building our own control circuitry. As group leader it was my job to make the final design decisions at the design stage, and since I had the most experience with electronics in our group this wasn't a problem. Most of my 5 person team turned up to all the lab sessions, and we worked well as a team. After many last minute changes fraying the teams nerves we finally managed to produce a functioning vehicle. However it is my no means perfect, so I've kept it and will work on improving it over the summer.

November 17, 2005

PDP Introduction

I am currently studying Systems Engineering at the University of Warwick.
Optional Modules:

  • Electronics/Systems selection of laboratory work
  • Biomedical Engineering optional module (not yet started)

As part of the Skills Support for Engineers series of lectures, and as part of our studies as a whole, we have been required to produce some sort of PDP (Personal Development Profile). I have chosen to produce mine in the form of a blog for the following reasons:

  • It will be regularly updated
  • It will be readily available to anyone who wants to read it
    This blog will contain details of my academic and personal development, as well as any plans I have for my development, and the progress I'm making with them.

Engineering and Academia

I’ve always been interested in engineering and want to make a career of it.

My first experience of engineering was playing with Lego and Knex. At the age of 9 I designed and built a suspension bridge built from Knex with a 1.5 metre span.

I enjoy making things in general, but I particularly enjoy origami, the art of paper folding. This started when my uncle made me a flapping bird and I dissembled it and worked out how to make others. I incorporated origami into my GCSE art project, to the dismay of the teachers, who thought I should be more spontaneous and not plan so precisely. However, as things that has not been planned properly are more likely to fail, I try to avoid this .

Edit May 2006
I have just finished being group leader of a project to build a line following robot, something I enjoyed very much, and will try to improve the vehicle over the summer.
Since having to start revision for exams I have rediscovered the joys of origami, using it to get away from studying, creating larger more intricate models than ever before. It helps relieve from the tedium of revision, and I've also discover that carefully folded paper is actually very strong and can withstand comparatively large loads for it's small mass.

In 2001 my school took part in the Rapid Response Engineering Challenge run by the ICE (Institute of Civil Engineers). We had to make an aqueduct out of bamboo canes and sections of drain pipe, a tent from more bamboo and polythene sheets, as well as present our ideas to a large audience. My team won first prize.

I enjoy graphical design, having designed leaflets for A–level Media Studies and ‘How to Choose at GCSE’, as well as the logo for my Dad’s consultancy business.

In 2003 I entered the British Physics Challenge, a series of advanced physics lessons followed by an exam. I was awarded a commendation.

The most engineering based subject I have studied before starting university was A–level electronics. My friends and I petitioned the deputy head of the sixth form college, and have been the first year to complete it. The course is now one of the more popular ones. During the course I developed some proficiency with electronic circuit design and construction, my A–level project being to design an infra–red remote control, which after much frustration did actually work.


Sports

I am a keen badminton player, and have played with my dad and friends, as well as the after school club. I am member of the unvereity club, but missed ou on playing for the team by not being good enough. I'm currently working on that by going to as many practise sessions as I can. However, I have taken very well to fencing, a sport I started at the beginning of the academic year, and have already taken part in Warwick's National Novices competion. It's great fun, and I'm a lot fitter as a result.
I also enjoy walking, having to cover 1.5 miles every day to and from school, walking with scouts, and family holidays to Scotland, the Lake District, Austria and most recently the deserts of the USA. I walk a lot less now I live on campus, but still try walk to as many place as I can, it's very good exercise.

Hobbies

I’ve kept music as a hobby and purposely not studied it at GCSE or A–level. I’ve been playing the piano for nine years and in my last exam gained a distinction at grade 5. I’ve had classical guitar lessons for fun. I’ve been a part of the school celidh band and jazz band for a number of years. The jazz band recently played at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, which was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed performing at a professional venue with an audience of thousands. With friends from school I helped organise and perform in a fund raising concert for a school in Romania.
Now at university I am a member of the Ceilidh band, playing the guitar. It's been great fun, playing our first ceilidh on campus after only 6 weeks together, which was a great success.

Edit May 2006: The Ceilidh band has now played 2 ceildhs on campus, both of which were a great success. I have been made treasurer of the ceilidh society, which has so far gone well, despite the previous treasurer telling me almost nothing about the job! We now have a very good society and hope to grow and improve it in the future.

I’ve been a member of the Scout movement from of 8 to 16. I enjoyed the camping and activities, my favourite being the Cheshire hike, covering a distance of about 18km carrying all our gear and camping overnight with a friend. I reached the position of senior patrol leader and was one of the last scouts in the country to be awarded the chief scouts award.

It is not only with scouts that I’ve been camping. I’ve been to the greenbelt music festival for 4 days last summer with six friends, having to look after and feed ourselves.

As an extra curricular activity at college I took part in a first aid at work course run by the red cross and passed.

I have acquired a range of gadgets from shop bought equipment to bought kits to items I have designed and built myself. I enjoy computing, particularly tinkering with the machines, and some friends and I have occasional ‘LAN parties’, networking our individual machines and playing games, but a lot of technical knowledge is required to actually make it work. The knowledge aquired from these activities helped me a lot in my first job, being able to use computers and teach others too was a very useful skill. I also made a lot of friends in the first few days at university by connecting peoples PC's and laptops to the intranet.

Before moving to Warwick University I was involved for many years in a local christian youth group. We had week long summer camps at a boarding school in Herefordshire, for fun, adventure, and to learn to live and work together. We were split into groups of about 10 people and had various challenges to do over the week. The challenges were designed to allow us to develope technical skills, team work, talking to large groups of people, and a sense of responsibility to our group. Last year I turned 18 and became a leader of a group. It was a very interesting experience, being involved in the planning and running of a large scale operation (there were about 60 kids last year).


Work Experience

For my one week industrial placement in year 10 I was fortunate to accepted by Bentley Motors in Crewe. I was in the department of body hardware and spent the time with engineers, CAD designers, in the bumper assembly cell and with the quality assurance teams. This was a fascinating week. I found that I fitted in well with all staff and was able to ask questions that people found interesting.
My end of placement review was very favourable as my manager received positive feedback from all the areas I visited, and said I was enthusiastic, interested, took on a lot of information and was keen to get involved. In Tomís informal test about the cars and their performance I scored 90%.

The time at Bentley confirmed to me that engineering is the right choice for me as a career.

I spent two years in paid employment for an insurance brokers. I spent an hour at the end of each day filing, weighing and stamping the post and preparing the courier mail. Iíve also helped in the office during the summer holidays, taking phone calls and talking to clients. My final assignment was to reorganising the storage of achive files into a logical system that others can follow and easily locate the files they need. I have also evaluated the cost-effectiveness of courier versus first class post for insurance documentation.

I had to be organised to get the post out on time. This means making sure that I have enough stamps, labels, envelopes and make sure everyone has given me their post. I was trusted to buy in excess of £500 worth of stamps at a time. I also acted as resident IT specialist, which which covered a huge range, from word document formatting, printer maintenance, to removing viruses from the system. I found the work a little tedious, but the people were good company, and learning how to deal with clients over the telephone and face to face has been useful.


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  • What areas of engineering are you working on Andrew? Seems like there is an awful lot of talent here… by on this entry

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