Stephanie Moakes

Stephanie Moakes

Why did you decide to study MEng Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Leeds?

Personally, I have always been geared towards engineering, it’s in my family and I have known for a long time that it is what I want to do.

Why specifically Leeds?

I thought the City was great for a start, it seemed like an ideal place to pursue my university career and I was not wrong. Also the department here at Leeds impressed me far more than any of the other Universities I went to visit, everyone seemed enthusiastic and there was a lot of interesting work going on here.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

The variety of modules available to my specific course (Civil and Structural Engineering) led to me having experienced many different aspects of the discipline and has widened my knowledge of the subject. The choice also helped me tailor the course to suit me, which made me feel more in control.

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

The group projects every year are always interesting, our IDP normally includes a real life situation which helps it become more exciting. For example last year we had to design a solution for a problem involving high speed rail which is already in progress in the UK. And this year our group was given a design brief by an actual company in the industry and we had to design a high rise building in London, all the while the external lecturers taking the module acted like genuine clients which was great experience for after uni.

Have you undertaken a work placement, internship or study abroad year?

I managed to gain a scholarship with Laing O’Rourke in the summer of my second year at Leeds, this meant I would undertake summer internships with them for the rest of my uni career with the opportunity to apply for their graduate scheme at the end. I did two placements each of about 6-8 weeks in length (and was paid thoughout each one), both in Londonon site and one in their main office, I commuted in (2 hours) from home for one and lived about 10 minutess away for the other.

It was incredibly helpful in expanding my practical knowledge of the subject, especially the site placement. I also learned a lot about being in a full time job including travel for an extended period of time, which I hadn’t experienced before, so that was insightful. Sitting in on meetings was particularly useful in showing me how and what to prepare and what to focus on during them. All in all it was incredibly valuable and I would recommend it to anyone going into engineering – or even anyone on the course since it gives you life skills and work experience as well as engineering knowledge.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

The City is one of the main reasons I came here, there really is something for everyone. The nightlife is great with a music scene for whatever genre you happen to be interested in and plenty of cheap and cheerful club nights along with a ton of cool barsfor more chilled nights. Shopping is great too, the newly built trinity centre has student lock ins for good deals. There are hundreds of great places to eat here, I’ve been around 4 years and still have a list as long as my arm that I want to try out. There are plenty of other students around too so you never feel out of place anywhere. There are a whole bunch of cultural things to do too if you fancy it and many of them are FREE.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I am starting a job in September and ideally want to start working towards my chartership as soon as possible. I am heading in the contractual engineering direction rather than consulting as I’m more of a practical person, the Leeds course has enough of both aspects to go into either side of engineering.

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

Choose modules early on wisely and look ahead to the later years, some modules require you to have done a different one previously and you don’t want to miss out. But mainly don’t stress out too much.