Prestigious engineering scholarships awarded to Perse students

Smera Sachin and Aimee Reed (both Lower Sixth) have received prestigious Arkwright Engineering Scholarships.

The sought-after scholarships give aspiring engineers, who have been identified as potential future leaders in the industry, the opportunity to make connections and gain experience as well as £600 funding to support their studies.

As part of their application in Year 11, Smera and Aimee had to highlight their passion for engineering through showcasing their own projects as part of a detailed application form, as well as taking part in a problem-solving exam and an in-depth interview.

For her submission, Smera demonstrated a wind turbine she had designed that produced enough energy to power a lightbulb.

She said: “We were learning about generators in physics and I’m really interested in sustainability and finding ways to help with the climate crisis, so I thought I’d combine these interests to make a wind turbine.

“I started by creating a basic one out of cardboard and wires, before making a second version using a 3D printer to make the wind turbine, a laser cutter to make the frame and more magnets and coils of wire to generate electricity so it was more efficient than my first one and generated a lot more energy.

“It was really satisfying when I got it to work because I went through lots of iterations and I had to change lots of things, such as the spacing of the magnets and coils of wires because they could collide.”

With the funding, Smera plans to get her own 3D printer to improve her computer-aided design (CAD) skills and improve her turbine further.

She is also receiving sponsorship from the Maurice Hatter Foundation, a charity established by the late founder of electronics components company IMO Precision Controls.

Smera was thrilled to receive an Arkwright Scholarship, adding: “It just opens up so many possibilities. It’s almost like a gateway to engineering because you get to meet other engineers and you have a mentor who can help you with any questions you have.”

Meanwhile, Aimee submitted two projects as part of her application – a portable light with different colour filters to help people with insomnia, and an ingenious device for fitting nets on to netball posts.

She said: “The 3D-printed light is something I’d already done at school in the DT labs. Studies have been done which have shown red light and blue light can help with sleep, so I tried to design something that was aesthetically pleasing but also had a real usefulness.

“The second project is something I was doing outside of school that I like to call ‘netfix’. I play a lot of netball and the nets can sometimes be old or broken, so I’ve designed a device that makes putting on the net easier.”

Aimee was elated to obtain an Arkwright Scholarship, adding: “I was shocked, but it’s really good to see that someone else appreciated the designs and can see their potential and that I have a base to build upon for the future.”

She has received sponsorship from the RAF, having expressed an interest in aeronautical engineering, and aims to use her funding to buy materials to make the ‘netfix’ reality.


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