Eilidh Adamson - Third Year Student of Aero-Mechanical Engineering MEng - University of Strathclyde

Issued: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 17:14:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I can speak French, German and a tiny bit of Italian.

Tell us about your career journey so far

Throughout high school, I was never set on engineering. I knew I wanted to go to university and went between a variety of ideas; Accounting, Law, Journalism, French and German. Engineering was always in the back of my mind but I didn’t seriously entertain it and carried on with subjects I just happened to enjoy.

When I got to S6 and found myself studying Maths, Physics and German, engineering seemed increasingly the obvious choice so I investigated the different types and applied to Aerospace Engineering courses. Aerospace Engineering seemed the most interesting to me but in hindsight I had very little idea of what any kind of engineering entailed so I feel very lucky that my choice worked out as well as it did – I really enjoy my course.

I am studying at Strathclyde University and have completed the first two years of my 5-year degree. Up until this point I have learned some computer coding, using programmes like Solidworks for CAD, carried out practical work in the lab in first year to make a remote-control buggy and have completed several experiments, including wind tunnel aerofoil testing and bending of a beam. In second year we began to specialise and have covered basic concepts relevant to designing aircraft – forces you have to consider and the reason behind certain aeroplane features. This I have really been enjoying and am excited to specialise further this coming year.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Both German and maths. German because I really enjoy speaking it and I feel very proud of the fact I can speak a foreign language – I know many people can but it is something I place a lot of value on personally. Maths because I love the satisfaction of cracking a really tough sum and I kind of find it enjoyable to sit and pick away at an algebra problem (I will admit it gets a lot less fun when you get stuck and under time pressure). In S6 I had an amazing teachers for both subjects which always helps.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

To get onto the MEng stream for my course at Strathclyde, the minimum required grades are AAAB including both Maths and either Physics or Engineering Science. Strathclyde also display ‘standard entry requirements’ (indicates the grades of those typically accepted onto the course) which are AAAAB. From personal experience, it helps to have also completed Advanced Higher Maths as across the first two years of university I have come across many of the same topics and having the knowledge from AH Maths gave me a good grounding. I also did Physics to Advanced Higher which I would say has helped but not to the same extent as Maths.

What is a normal day in your role like?

Although lectures don’t start until 9 at the earliest, I like to be up and working at about 8, when I plan my day and read notes in preparation for lectures that day. Lecture and tutorial times change every day so I attend them and in between I try to get the work I need to done. This work can consist of writing reports due, preparing for tests, assignments that may be coding or doing sums, group presentations or summarizing notes. I try to finish about 4 or 5 and like to keep my evenings and most of my weekends free when possible. I might go to the gym, go to cheerleading which I do with the university or see friends.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Learning to code. I am definitely still getting to grips with it but I love it because it is a tangible skill – something other than theory I can say I am gaining from my course.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? 

This simulator give allows you to test out different aerofoil shapes in a wind tunnel, which is meant to represent a plane wing in flight. You can see changing the aerofoil changes the lift of the aeroplane which is a factor that may need changed or fixed when designing aircraft. We carried out this experiment in first year using the university’s wind tunnel. Access here: http://firstflight.open.ac.uk/experiments03c.php


There is software called MD Solids that is actually recommended to us by one of our lecturers. It is downloadable and allows you to experiment with different forces, concepts and model experiments i.e. testing Torsion, bending of a beam and associated stress and strain, setting up trusses. It is very easy to use and a free trial is available. Access it here: https://www.mdsolids.com


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