What are you doing now?
I am currently working for Shell as a Process Engineer in their Projects and Technology office in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. I was recently awarded a Salters’ Graduate Prize for academic achievement and potential to contribute to and be a leader in the UK chemical industry.
What route did you take to this point?
I studied Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and German at A level, then went on to do a Masters in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. After my third year at university I did a three month summer internship as a Process Engineer with Shell in Aberdeen, and was offered a graduate position, beginning after my final year.
Significant decisions you had to make?
At every stage up to this point I had to make a significant decision. For example, deciding to change schools and come to DHSB to do my A levels was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t done that. Choosing what to study at university is always difficult as well. Throughout my whole school career I’d assumed that I would do a Mathematics degree, but A levels made me realise how much I would miss the other subjects. I’d never heard of Chemical Engineering before I read about it in a prospectus, but it seemed to be a perfect fit and had great career prospects – I know some of my teachers were surprised, but I went for it anyway!
What is good about what your career offers you?
Being a process engineer exposes me to a wide range of situations, and I get to connect with and learn from a large number of different technical and non-technical disciplines. I also have the option to specialise in a specific aspect of my field. Having a career at Shell will also offer me the chance to visit, work in and live in different countries, and to build up a network of a large number of people from many different backgrounds.
Most challenging year whilst at DHSB?
I was only at DHSB for two years, but definitely Year 13!
I probably didn’t help myself my doing five A levels, but it prepared me well for university.
Any advice for students with us now?
When it comes to making decisions about your learning and your career, I would say listen to people who offer you advice, and do your research properly so that you can make an informed decision, but ultimately think about what it is that you really want to do. You can only truly excel when you enjoy what you’re doing, and it’s a strategy that has worked for me so far!
To Sixth Form students in particular, really make sure you enjoy your last couple of years in school. You’ll look back and wish you appreciated it more at the time! Sixth Form is a great opportunity to start focusing on the subjects you really enjoy, and also to develop yourself as a person. Embrace activities outside of school, and have something that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Also, consider being an engineer!
Any messages for your teachers?
All of my teachers made my A level subjects interesting and inspiring, and helped me to do as well as I did. Mr Coombes, Mr Martin, Mrs Ellis, Mr Penrose, Mr Adams – thank you all.
And thank you to Ms Davidson for believing in me and having me as part of her wonderful Sixth Form.