Cambridge University, Harris Federation Post 16, Harris City Academy Crystal Palace
MEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics
Two internships at RAL Space during my degree, and one other at HTZ Ltd. Saturday job at Jewson builder’s merchant during my A Levels.
STFC RAL Space (part of UKRI)
Originally from Croydon, I now live in Oxford with my girlfriend. I work as an electronics engineer in the Imaging Systems division of RAL Space.
Originally from Croydon, I now live in Oxford with my girlfriend. I work in South Oxfordshire for RAL Space (a department of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC), as an electronics engineer. Before starting at RAL, I studied engineering at university, specialising in electrical & electronic engineering in my 3rd and 4th years, and Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A Level. Ever since a young age space, and space exploration, has fascinated me. It was only when I was lucky enough to be selected to travel to America to visit scientists and engineers at NASA I considered a career in this industry. Hopefully I can teach you more about career opportunities in the space industry, especially in the UK!
Outside of work I like to keep active by playing football and running (I ran my first half marathon this year), and socialise with friends and family.
I design cameras, and other scientific equipment, for use in space.
RAL Space has been involved in over 210 space missions, which have helped humans improve our understanding of the universe. The most famous projects include: Rosetta, ExoMars, Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, Solar Dynamics Observatory and many many more! With Imaging Systems, I design, build and test cameras, and other scientific equipment, which we can use to observe the universe.
Space is a very harsh environment for sensitive scientific instruments. When we know our electronics work as expected, we have to check they still work when exposed to the following conditions: vacuum; very hot and cold temperatures; rigorous vibration (like that when a rocket launches); high radiation levels (we are protected on Earth, but there is lots of harmful radiation in space). At RAL Space, we test for vacuum/temperature and vibration using the facilities shown in the pictures below.
Since joining RAL Space, I have been involved in projects to develop a method of measuring gravity using quantum physics, and to build a camera to look at the sun to forecast space weather.
My Typical Day: A typical day depends very much on the stage of the project I am working on. For example, during the early stages most of my time is spent using specialist software to help design circuits. Then during later stages I can usually be found in the lab testing my circuits work as expected.
Thankfully no day is the same for me, which keeps work interesting! If I had to come up with a timeline, I’d say something like:
8.30 Arrive at work and check emails
8.30-12.30 Project work
13.15-13.30 Check emails
13.30-15.00 Project work
15.00-15.15 Coffee break
15.15-17.00 Project work
17.00 Check emails and leave work
But it can differ quite a lot from this! Project work can vary quite a lot depending on the stage it is at. For example, in early stages I spend a lot of time using specialist software to help me design circuits and circuit boards. During later stages I spend most of my time in the lab, testing my circuits work as expected. Regardless of the project though, a large part of my work involves working with others to solve (sometimes complex) problems.
What I'd do with the money
I'd organise a visit to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for students from low socio-economic backgrounds. I'd like to give them an opportunity to visit a unique, interesting place they wouldn't normally have easy access to.
I volunteer with an organisation called the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), who support 16-18 year olds from low socio-economic backgrounds to explore Post-18 options e.g. applying to university, organising work experience etc. If I won the competition, I’d use the prize money to organise a trip to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for the SMF’s STEM students. Coming from a similar background, I was inspired by a school trip to America during my A Levels, where I met scientists and engineers working at NASA, to pursue the career I am in today. Hopefully visiting RAL will have a similar effect on others, and help open the eyes of more young people to the exciting careers in STEM.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Ambitious, inquisitive, determined.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Getting a job at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Where else do you have two particle accelerators and laser facilities on your doorstep?!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
The moon landings always fascinated me when I was young (and still do!). I also find the astronaut Chris Hadfield inspiring.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths, largely thanks to the teachers. Mr Rose and Mr Key both deserve special mentions for sharing their passion for the subject with us students.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be an engineer in the space industry and I'm lucky to have achieved that
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I never did anything particularly bad, but you don't get in trouble if you don't get caught ;)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Still something research based - I really enjoy working on new and cutting edge things
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Stormzy – he’s a great example of getting where you want to be despite any apparent obstacles in your way (he’s also from the same area of Croydon as me!)
What's your favourite food?
My top 3: Indian, Caribbean, Mexican (I can’t choose just one!)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Backpacking around South East Asia with friends after we graduated from university.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
World peace, to witness humans land on Mars, to see England win the world cup
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a laughing motorbike? A Yamahaha