Piriye Whyte, BEng Chemical and Process Engineering, Nigerian international student

Tamunopiriye Deborah Whyte

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds ranks highly for my course and its connections to industry will increase my graduate prospects. It was also the only university that had the course I wanted to do, exactly the way I wanted it to be.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course?

In first year, we learn the basics of chemical engineering so all disciplines interact with each other. It was interesting to get to know why people picked the specific subtypes, hearing their ambitions about making a difference in today’s world and learning from them. Interacting with students in the higher years encourages you to emulate them and they will motivate you when you feel overwhelmed by how different university is to A-levels.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

We recently completed a group report on CME Glass (a type of bioglass) and had to give a presentation. We planned a process for its production and distribution, including a plant location and justification for it. My group was really nice and we had a lot of fun throughout the project and got a lot of work done. There was also the materials science project, where we picked the possible materials to use for components of a photo bioreactor and justification for our selection.

What does the city of Leeds have to offer students?

Firstly, the people in the city are very friendly and will help you out when you get lost, which was common for me at the start. There is somewhere to go in Leeds as there are so many extracurricular activities on offer, and this involves the individual and various groups. I live near the Royal Armouries Museum and have a view of the dock – it is one of the best ways to start my morning. With high quality and affordable restaurants nearby, meeting up with friends is easy to arrange.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I plan to do a Masters degree but I am also considering a PhD. In the long run, I hope to use my qualification to get a job in a manufacturing company. I love the ideas of materials and their synthesis, so I will probably move around jobs to get a feel for all the different industries. Once I have settled back home, I plan to work with like-minded people who aim to increase the efficiency of chemical industries in Nigeria.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

Group work is an integrated part of my course and will be essential in whichever sector I choose in the future. I never really understood what it meant or how it worked until I had a few team projects with no teacher help. Additionally, I have developed organisation and time management skills, and I now understand that you need to have a plan or you end up wasting a lot of time on one miniature task.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

First year is when you can take the time to understand yourself, learning how best to work and rest without burning yourself out. Treat the course like a marathon and hence, your capability in second year depends on how well you’ve prepared yourself in the first year. Make sure to stop at times and take in your surroundings as this beautiful city always has something in store for you. Making friends along the way makes it all the more enjoyable.