I love DTE because there are so many interesting fields to explore. In my most recent projects I have been focusing more on environmental engineering, but I find robotics and coding fascinating too. I felt a real sense of achievement and a huge boost in confidence when I found out I had got the scholarship.
Through this scholarship, I hope to experience first-hand what a career in engineering will be like, and meet interesting people who can mentor me and help me find new opportunities. I love the sense of pride at seeing the result of a project that I have put a lot of thought and care into planning.
The first major project I did was my DTE coursework for which I designed an electro-pneumatic plastic compactor that presses plastic into a brick which would then be used as a building material. Although the end result was a prototype as opposed to a final product, it was the first time that I saw the result of a project that I had structured and researched myself. Seeing what I could do and receiving lots of support and encouragement from my teachers, inspired me to take on more challenges. Here are the ones I did under lockdown:
Engineering projects under lockdown:
COVID Challenge 2020:
A challenge where groups of A-Level and University students are sorted into groups to come up with a pitch for an idea in six days that would make the lockdown easier on people. My team came up with an app called ‘Quarantime’, that randomly generates educational activities to occupy children to relieve the parents of some of the pressure of home-schooling. I wrote the questionnaire for market research, I conducted existing app analysis and I wrote prototype code for the random generator in C# language on the editor VS Code. Apart from the engineering challenge aspect, this was the first time I had worked as part of a randomly selected team, where we had to organize tasks and deadlines for each other.
Prospect 100 Challenge:
This was a continuation of the COVID Challenge from the beginning of lockdown. The challenge this time was to come up with an idea that would make use of the way that lockdown changed our lives as we emerge into the new normal. Our idea was an app called Speed-ELearn that helps children study for exams. I found statistics on how much more efficient eLearning is than traditional learning (students retain 25 – 60% more information). I also wrote some prototype code for the app functionality (random generation of one of two quizzes on the GCSE Waves topic) in C# using Visual Studio Code and did existing app/website analysis of BBC Bitesize, Duolingo and Quizizz. The unique selling point for our app was a bot that helps students revise. The bot answers students’ subject questions and then displays a message box asking if the student’s question was adequately answered. If the student says “No”, the question is forwarded to the teacher. In this way, the teacher does not have to waste time answering simple questions, and children who really need the teacher’s help and attention will receive it without delay. The organisers of the competition then put the top 20 teams on their website. Our team made it to top 20. (My team is team 29 on the following website here)
TDI Challenge 2020:
I made a two minute video using HitFilm Express (an app recommended to me by one of my teammates from the COVID Challenge) explaining my DT coursework idea (an electro-pneumatic compactor that compresses plastic into a brick). I put this video on a website I created using Wix, that you can look at here.