Posts Tagged ‘Engineering’

How I secured my year-long internship

What will my internship be about?

As I excitedly wait for my exam results, I thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you all about the year-long industrial placement I managed to secure starting from this summer. One of my current main interests is to do with the industry of digital health. This industry encompasses many different sectors which includes wearable devices connected to mobile apps, digitized patient health records, virtual reality and many more! Imagine being able to have a device which measures your heart rate while being connected to your mobile phone. This is an example of one thing I could be expected to do during my internship.

Image 1: Example of a wearable heart rate monitor and mobile app device by a company called Under Armour

Image 1: An example of a wearable device and mobile app to measure heart rate by a company called Under Armour (this is not the exact same wearable device I will be using during my internship).

What did I do to secure my internship?

Securing my internship involved being very proactive – this is a must have characteristic for everyone! Through sending speculative emails for internship opportunities, I was accepted by the company based on my skills set and previous experience on my CV. I was then asked to attend an interview which I did and was able to complete successfully. This brings me to my next point which is to always be prepared. Without previous preparation of tailoring my CV to the companies I was applying to, as well as anticipating possible interview questions I may be asked, I may not have been able to secure this internship in the first place. QMUL was very helpful during the process of my preparations, where in particular, the departmental specific industrial manager for my course helped improve my CV, as well as gave me advice on how to prepare for interviews. For example, one useful tip for tailoring a CV I used was checking the company website for current roles and reading job descriptions. In this way, I was able to ensure the skills and experience I outlined on my CV were aligned with what the company was looking for. In regards to interviews, one main tip was to understand the power of pausing for thought when asked a question during an interview – I used to think pausing to think about how to answer a question was a bad thing as it may show a lack of knowledge to the interviewer.

Final thoughts!
I cannot wait for my internship to begin this summer, where I will finally get to apply the current knowledge I have gained during my studies. In addition, the fact that I will be helping to improve the lives of people through the work I will be carrying out during my internship makes it even more motivating!

The importance of having a mentor

Hi Everyone and a Happy New Year to you all!

Recently I had an informal meeting with someone I was introduced to through a family friend. The person I met with is an Engineer who runs their own successful company . What I want you all to take away from today’s blog, is the power of having a mentor.

First of all, what is a mentor? Well in my opinion I see mentors as individuals who have relevant life experience or subject specific knowledge who you can go to for advice and support. For example, during my meeting with the Engineer I met, I asked many questions such as “What do you suggest I could do after I finish my degree if I want to stay in the engineering industry?” or “How can I open up my own business?” to which I was provided with a lot of really useful information and inspiration. Now in the future since I have their contact information, I can contact them whenever they are available for further advice.

Mentors can offer you direction, and suggestions; they can help you stay on track to success if there is a risk you could get lost. For example, lets say someone wants to become an actor, well what a mentor could do is tell the individual the best ways of becoming an actor based on the persons own needs. An example of this could be: if an aspiring actor is not confident acting in front of large crowds, the mentor could suggest which workshops to attend to improve the persons confidence before they start attending auditions.

At this stage, you may now be wondering “Where can I find a mentor ?” or “How can I find a mentor ?” The concept of having a mentor is really popular right now, so it might be that you ask your teachers at school if they know of a mentor scheme. It might be that you could find a suitable mentor during work experience – if you find someone you work with particularly inspiring and knowledgeable you could ask them for further specific advice. Other ways you can find a mentor is to start by doing a bit of research e.g. “Mentor schemes for students interested in … Many charities run mentor schemes for young people; some of whom will provide mentors who have knowledge about specific subjects, or running your own business, or writing a good personal statement.  You should ensure you find the right person for you based on the advice you need and what they have done/what they know about. Finally, once you get to university you will often find that there are student led mentor schemes. QMUL offer a scheme called PASS (Peer Assisted Study Support) which I have used myself, where experienced students at QMUL can offer specific subject help and advice to first year students  (I highly recommend you find out more about it if you’re interested).

Now that your aware of the roles of a mentor, achieving your dreams may be more easier than you initially thought. In addition, my parents never went to university so couldn’t always answer my questions about what I could do after I graduate, which may be the same for you too.

Good luck in your search for a mentor !

Sometimes you have to keep it simple

Hey everyone! Following on from my most recent blog, I can happily say I successfully completed my robotic arm experiment. However, this would not have been possible if I didn’t keep things simple.

What exactly do I mean by keeping things simple? Based on my last blog, you may remember I said in my first lab sessions that I couldn’t get the robotic arm to move. Well in a nutshell, the main reason the robotic arm didn’t move was because I over complicated the experiment. In other words, if I had tried to solve the problem in the easiest and most efficient way possible, this would have reduced a lot of confusion for me. Below are some examples of simple questions I asked myself in order to make the robotic arm move:

– What are the components of the robotic arm?

– What are the aims of the experiment?

– How can I achieve these aims?

As you can see, by asking simple questions you begin to break down the problem into simple steps. In the end, this is what helped me to successfully complete the experiment. Now for those of you who are eager to see what the robotic arm looked like in action, below is an image of me controlling the movement of the robotic arm:

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Image: Me controlling the robotic arm after successfully building the circuit with other group members.

Finally, if there’s one thing you can take away from today’s blog it would be; If ever you come across a complex problem, try thinking about how you can simplify it in order to solve it.

As always now that you have gained this knowledge, how will you apply it?

Good-luck !

Setting goals and succeeding

Hey everyone, and welcome to another week of blogging. Today I will be talking about something I guess many people easily overlook –  the idea of setting goals to achieve your dreams.

In the past I found myself always wanting to do something a lot but never getting around to doing it or just not knowing how to do it. In addition, have you ever thought to yourself the following thoughts: “I always have tomorrow to do it”; “Do I really want to do this now?”; “Why is this taking so long to happen”; “Am I ever going to get what I really want” – Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you?

You see, in my opinion when I come across these thoughts, they all have one thing in common – No clear goal or objective. To make this point more clear lets give a fictional example of a boy called Ben, a year 11 student who really wants to become a footballer (so far so good right?). But what Ben doesn’t know is that in order to become a footballer, he must do many things that may take months or even years to become good at. A couple of weeks later, Ben gives up being a footballer because he thinks he is not good enough (Do you think it was right for Ben to do this?). However, if Ben had set himself little goals to achieve each day such as ; DAY 1 – Do 5 push ups; DAY 2 – Run with a football; DAY 3 – Jump and catch a football at the same time; Ben could either get really good at football and become a footballer or Ben could realize there may be other alternatives to football that he may also enjoy.

In summary, the moral of the story is that many people in my opinion do not plan how they are going to achieve something which many times results in a person getting very upset because they did not get what they wanted.

Below is an image of me setting goals on how to become better at physics (which was something I did not do for my A Levels which I need for engineering) and as you can see I clearly outline my goals and how I will achieve them:

 

2 goal

 

I hope you can see how easy it can be to achieve something you truly want, just through setting goals and writing plans. In other words what I really want to say is “yes” sometimes you may not always get what you want, however by planning to get what you want, you are more likely to achieve your dreams than not having a plan at all.

Now that you have gained this knowledge, what will you do next ?

Back at my old Sixth Form College (Parents Evening)

Hey everyone, i’m Huseyin a Second Year Medical Engineering student at Queen Mary.

 

Welcome to my brand new blog !

 

I hope you will all enjoy what goes on at university from my point of view, and will follow me throughout my time at university.

When I finished my A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Language and Literature, I thought college was over forever- How wrong I was “haha”. This week I went back to my college to give a talk at a parents evening and I must say, I had a really fun time. I had to speak on a microphone in front of a BIG audience of parents and spoke about what life was like as a university student. One of the things I mentioned was how independent students are, and how you start to learn more about yourself such as things you like that you didn’t before.

The main lesson I learned from this week’s experience being back at college was that it made me realize how much I have improved as a person in every way, such as being able to talk to a big crowd of strangers. There are also so many other things I want to tell you all in my next blogs such as, what I thought about university before I was accepted, or even things such as how I found my lectures (Lessons where a teacher-like person talks) in my first year.

If I covered a topic that didn’t interest you enough in this blog, I’m sure the next blogs will interest you hint: I have also previously took part in really cool societies where I made something fly in the air.

 

I can’t wait for my next blog … See you all soon !

 

 

 

A Student’s Perspective: The 2014 British Conference for Undergraduate Research

Attending this was the most fun I have had in years. It was better than going on holiday. In December I applied online to present my findings from a summer research project – and in April, Queen Mary sent me to Nottingham so that I would be the QMUL delegate at the 2014 British Conference for Undergraduate Research (BCUR). Science is fascinating to me and as I want to be a scientific researcher. My experience at the BCUR only reinforced this goal.

Travelling to a new place on your own is exciting, and it was quite a journey for me to get to the BCUR. On the train I even played poker with the stranger sat across from me while revising for an exam. After arriving at Nottingham, I met a myriad of people on my way to the conference, all of whom were happy to help me get where I was going.

An image from the BCUR website showing researchers discussing poster presentations.

An image from the BCUR website showing researchers discussing poster presentations.

I did not expect what happened then. Everywhere I went I met people who were welcoming, spontaneous, and just overall awesome. I had dinner with groups of delegates from different universities each day, and would then go to the hall bar with them afterwards. I met Swedish young scientist superstar Ulrika Frising and even a former Miss Wales. It was surprising to me how friendly everyone was, and how eager everyone was to spend time together and get to know each other. I mean: we were complete strangers.

The delegates gave talks or presented posters about their research during the day. It was fantastic to meet so many people with the same passion for science as me. On the second day I presented my poster, which detailed the procedure for synthesizing a novel bioplastic that I designed during the summer before I started university. This plastic is made up of corn starch molecules cross-linked with tartaric acid – a prevalent winemaking waste product. Its biodegradability makes it eco-friendly. Furthermore, it was designed such that it would be edible, opening up a world of possible applications. A research article I wrote exploring the synthesis of this bioplastic is currently under review for publication by the Canadian Young Scientist Journal. To learn more about the BCUR or how to apply to attend next year’s conference, you can visit www.bcur.org for information.

 

 

Big efforts, Big winners!

Sadly this has taken a year, but once again I am sharing the details of another great experience which I have been so lucky to take part in!

Winning an internal contest to attend the first student conference of your life it’s a unique feeling and would make everyone feel proud of you. But when you win a national medical engineering competition for best undergraduate student project it means you have aimed high and achieved it!

So how did I go about it?  Completely by accident!

For my third year project I am working on finding a new treatment to prevent osteoarthritis, which is a joint disease that causes agonising pain and the only available treatment to date is joint replacement prostheses.

The new technology involves treating cartilage with lithium chloride (LiCl) which is a chemical compound commonly used in clinic as a mood stabilizer to treat bipolar disorders.

Within the research group of Professor Martin Knight, the post-doctoral researcher Dr Clare Thompson, my colleague Habiba Yasmin and I conducted this research project.

The experiments involved taking pieces of cartilage from bovine joints and treating them with LiCl. After the culture period we discovered that LiCl had completely inhibited the degradation that had been artificially caused.

This was certainly a very exciting moment, surely it didn’t mean we had found a cure for osteoarthritis but we had defiantly found something which could turn into something awesome!

Circular bovine cartilage explants submerged in medium (to give nutrients), cytokine (to induced osteoarthritis) and LiCl (to prevent the disease).

Circular bovine cartilage explants submerged in medium (to give nutrients), cytokine (to induced osteoarthritis) and LiCl (to prevent the disease).

My supervisor suggested we would present the project to the 26th Annual Biomedical Engineering Student Project Competition organised by the IMechE. To be honest at first I thought: ‘’Oh… I’m already so busy why would I waste my time on this which I will never win?!?’’

Then Habiba suggested we could consider it and so I thought: ‘’why not? Let’s do it!’’

We presented the abstract and got shortlisted for the final. This involved presenting the project to the judges and all the other guests attending the event. I took the big responsibility of being the one presenting at the final. This required a lot of preparation and rehearsals during which Habiba and I spent  many late nights on Skype making sure I wouldn’t ‘mess up’ on the day!

I must say, I hadn’t been so nervous till the night before during which I only slept 3 hours and I decided that to overcome the fear of making mistakes, I would imagine speaking to an empty room.

I did so.

When I stepped off the stage after the presentation, one of the judges winked at me and whispered: ‘’Good stuff !‘’. I only smiled but with that smile my heart shouted to Habiba: ‘’OH WE MADE IT!!!’’

Myself (left), the judge who winked at me after the presentation (middle) and Habiba (right) holding the certificate and £500 check!

 

Opportunity

Let me introduce myself. My name is Arturo Mendoza and I am a scientist at heart; the only thing is that I don’t have as much as a bachelor’s degree yet. Nevertheless, one of the things that bring me the most joy in life is carrying out scientific research and being involved in the UK academic community. I don’t know why, my brain must be hard-wired in some such way that these pursuits just make me happy.

Before finishing my A-levels I knew that I liked science, and material science was a field that seemed interesting to me, but I certainly wasn’t as enthusiastic as I feel now – not until I had a crack at carrying out a piece of research over the summer before starting Uni. I remember my mom told me about a school girl in Turkey who won £ 50 000 for presenting her “Science Fair Project” to Google. It intrigued me so after reading a few news reports on it online, I found the research paper she wrote describing her investigation:

I could have written that…

     The only thought going through my mind was that I could’ve easily done that, and perhaps even better in many ways. Something seriously clicked inside me and I was determined from that point onwards to do a piece of research in my own time, out of my own money (It only cost me £30.00) and get it published in a research journal. I planned and carried out the investigation over summer and wrote a research paper about it when I got here. (Well, after the first four weeks of the semester had passed)

Then I opened my eyes and saw what was here: Opportunity. I’ve been going to a wonderful research seminar series organized by two lecturers of SEMS (The School of Engineering and Material Science) where I met a range of people actively involved in cutting-edge research and innovation. Some of them have been kind enough to critique my paper so that I may improve it. A few even extended invitations to work with them in their on-going projects, one of which I accepted.

Now it’s January, and while a friend finishes reviewing my paper, I’m working in a team research project with academics and PhD students all of whom I admire, and hope to learn from. At the same time, I’ve started planning a second personal research project. This time I won’t be working alone, but instead will be teaming up with the smartest girl in my class.  She’s very talented in this research stuff.

Somehow, I still manage to have time to go out twice or thrice a week at night and enjoy past-midnight London at its finest. I love this place. Let’s see where we go from here.

First Parts Finished

 

Since my previous post, there have been three major developments in my project: I’ve finished and submitted all the blueprints for manufacturing in the university workshop; the first finished part was made; and I’ve started putting together the control software.

I submitted all the engineering drawings for the two robotic arms – both the master and the slave arms. They are going to be made in the university’s workshop. In fact, the handle used on the master arm has already been finished (pictured above). It was made using the university’s 3D printer – which I am still really amazed by. What surprised me the most was just how accurate the finished product was. Now I look forward to putting it to use in the finished prototype.

My supervisor, Dr. M. Hasan Shaheed, who was my personal tutor in the first and second year, and I have been looking at more applications for this technology. Dr. Shaheed has been looking into master slave technology for quite some time and so has had a lot of experience with it. So far, the healthcare industry seems the most promising and Dr. Shaheed has been working on contacting people in both the healthcare and robotics fields who may be interested in my project – all of which is extremely exciting.

As I also mentioned in my last post, I have begun working on the control system. My aim is to set up something simple and then implement it. Then the more complicated stuff can happen later. Like everything else in life, this process seems to be following the 80-20 rule: 80% of the effort goes into making it do 20% of what it’s supposed to – i.e. getting the motors to move. This is a pretty basic part of the control portion of my project, but so far, it seems to be the most time consuming. Because I am using new software and new equipment, there will always be a learning curve involved. The rest of the effort goes into fine tuning the controller so that it performs better. (I am sure that I will revise that statement in the next month once the controller starts to get more complex.)

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