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My desire to study engineering started with computing where I learnt programming in several languages, such as Python and HTML5. Furthermore, I have repaired, maintained and adapted computers, using a problem solving approach to further my understanding and knowledge. One avenue through which I have been able to further apply my knowledge of computing has been my EPQ.
After a period of background reading and research, my fascination with engineering led me to design and build a plane that can sustain prolonged flight through the continuous generation of power from solar panels and can be remotely controlled from the ground. A project such as this has necessitated tough choices, such as those between the benefits of particular components, compared to the drawbacks, for example, additional weight. The wing spars are made out of carbon fibre to be light, but rigid enough that they will not flex and cause the plane to lose lift. This project is enabling me to develop my skills in – amongst multiple engineering disciplines – electronics and computing, since I am programming the communication and flight software on the plane’s Raspberry Pi. Environmental inputs are collected through sensors such as GPS and an inertial measurement unit.
The plane is then controlled through a series of servo motors and propeller driven by a brushless motor and electronic speed control. This project has given me an appreciation for the opportunities I will be afforded in studying engineering at university. I am particularly keen to make use of more advanced facilities than are currently available to me, which will allow me to accomplish more complex tasks than it is currently possible. A significant factor that influenced me to apply for an engineering was a variety of articles that I have read online about modern technologies, one being reverse osmosis desalination. A technique such as this could be used for radical projects such as greening deserts such as the Sahara if the price of electricity falls through new technologies such as nuclear fusion. Another idea that captivates me is asteroid mining, an area that in the future, will transform the global economy through the input of new precious metals from where they are abundant. Alternatively, this technology could be used for construction in space, significantly saving on launch costs.
After university, I aspire to start a business that will have engineering at its core. In school, I have leapt at opportunities to further my interest in engineering through the extracurricular activities available to me. For example, I undertook the Physics Challenge in year 11, where I achieved Silver. This proved to be a stretching but rewarding challenge as I managed to solve difficult problems I had not previously believed I was capable of. Additionally, I took the opportunity to undertake work experience at a local company that researches and manufactures precision CNC machine cut metal components. During this work experience, I learnt how automation will be the future in advanced manufacturing due to the accuracy and efficiency to which things can be produced. Outside of engineering I have an interest in music, being able to play the saxophone and clarinet and partaken in various Jazz bands. Last year I was fortunate to play a solo at the Cheltenham Jazz festival.
Therefore, my decision to study engineering is born of my desire to better understand and improve complex machines and systems, as well as my enjoyment of the experience of engineering I have had so far. I am confident that a degree in engineering would suit me well, and I am prepared to fully embrace the opportunity provided.
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