Sought-after scholarships for budding Perse engineers

Arkwright Scholarship co-ordinator Sam Patterson (centre) with, clockwise from bottom left, Mabel Symes,
Sam Burnell, Sourish Sharma, Cecily Taras

Four Perse students have gained prestigious Arkwright Scholarships after being identified as potential future leaders in engineering.

Sourish Sharma, Mabel Symes, Sam Burnell and Cecily Taras (all Lower Sixth) have earned the sought-after scholarships, which provide them with an opportunity to build connections within the industry as well as £600 to support their studies.

While in Year 11, they each submitted a detailed application highlighting their interest in engineering before taking part in an in-depth interview and an exam as part of the selection procedure.

Sourish Sharma
Mabel Symes

Sourish demonstrated his CREST Gold Award-winning word clock, extending the project further by coding in a wireless game of Snake, using gyroscope data sent by radio signals to provide the controls.

He said: “I applied because I’m laser-focused on becoming an engineer. It gives you the opportunity to make something that changes the world and I just love messing around with all sorts of electronics.

“I knew the scholarship could support me both financially and through having a mentor. I reckon my passion for engineering showed through the interview.

“The aptitude exam was also quite tough, but I had the opportunity to design a few things such as an automatic sheep feeder and kitchen tools intended to help people with just one arm.”

Sourish, who has secured sponsorship with cyber security firm Crowdstrike, is considering using his funding to put towards buying a 3D printer or components to build a drone.

Meanwhile, Mabel showcased a university expense tracker app that she programmed using Java and Android Studio to help her sister keep track of and budget her money as she headed off to study.

Fittingly, she is being sponsored by Finbourne Technology, a finance company creating developer-friendly investment data platforms.

Mabel intends to put her prize money towards her Rouse Award project, using a Raspberry Pi computer to investigate the internet of things.

She found both the exam and interview extremely useful in developing her understanding of the engineering industry.

“In the written test, I had to design physical solutions to given problems, such as testing the strength and durability of a bungee cord,” said Mabel. “Although I don’t take design & technology, I managed to apply physics principles in my answers and greatly enjoyed the creativity aspect.

“The interview was invaluable as it gave me experience in answering questions about my project in a formal setting, as well as providing an opportunity to talk to experts in the industry about my project and my plans for the future.”

Sam Burnell
Cecily Taras

For his application, Sam highlighted his design & technology GCSE project, a folding picnic table which can combine with others to increase the size of the table and allow it to be customisable.

He also put forward his CAD (computer-aided design) of a single cylinder engine that used a high-pressure gas source controlled by a ball valve to create a rotary motion.

Sam said: “I’ve also done work experience with an engineering company to design a waterproof box which provides signals in the form of vibrations for blind people who want to learn to sail.

“I wanted to get the scholarship to increase my knowledge in engineering and also to provide me with a strong foundation going forward to a career in mechanical engineering.”

He hopes being sponsored by Webtec, a St Ives-based hydraulic fittings manufacturer, will help him achieve his goal.

Meanwhile, Cecily is being supported by research and technology organisation TWI following her successful Arkwright application.

She said her aspirations to become an engineer had been augmented by summer courses she had attended organised by the Industrial Cadets and the Smallpiece Trust.


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