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Wednesday 15 June was a special treat for the School’s promising technologists, when a party of handpicked Lower Fifth and Lower Sixth spent the day at the University of Southampton. This “Engineering Access Day”, organised by the University, was intended to whet the appetite of school pupils with a particular interest in taking their studies of technology further.
Arriving at the newly built Boldrewood campus, pupils were launched into a detailed lecture on the different aspects of construction and civil engineering disciplines by Dr Tom Cherrett, Engineering and Environment Admissions Tutor. Dr Cherrett went on to explain that engineering is multidisciplinary and that environmental engineering is a common aspect shared by all courses. There was a considerable in-depth conversation on how to select A Levels and how to prepare for engineering course applications in addition to academic studies.
The group then met a third-year aerospace engineering undergraduate, who discussed his pathway over the past years and the type of projects he is involved with. He outlined the mode of learning and how he had to adapt his way of working to driving himself more independently. There followed a tour of the various test centres for Airbus Aviation and a demonstration of how wind tunnels are used to gather data on wing profiles, identifying maximum lift and stall at different tilt angles.
After a short lunch, everyone walked to the Highfield Centre. They were taken on a tour to see some third-year undergraduates printing 3D aviation and engineering parts. Dr Tim Woolman guided the group through all the main areas where the students develop their work. This brought the rare chance to talk with a student developing rocket-propelled surface androids as part of a Google lunar surface challenge. Pupils were led through the heart of the research and development section and then taken to see the flight simulator, the acoustics anechoic and reverb chambers. Finally they were shown the RJ Mitchell wind tunnel, used by the GB cycling and GB sailing teams to develop their state-of-the-art equipment.
There is no doubt that the day served its purpose in capturing the pupils’ imaginations. Clearly impressed by what they had seen, those involved demonstrated their enthusiasm by asking many pertinent questions on how to apply to read engineering and the necessary subject combinations. The School would like to thank Mark Simmons and his undergraduate admissions team for helping to put this valuable day together.
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