• Question: What is the best thing you've done as an engineer

    Asked by faith to Hollie, Sylwia on 9 Mar 2018. This question was also asked by 729satm32.
    • Photo: Hollie Heard

      Hollie Heard answered on 9 Mar 2018:

      I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved in my career so far, from getting my degree, almost getting my doctorate and working on some really interesting projects! I think the best moment was when I first had to email the European Space Agency about a project I was working on for them in part of developing a new rocket thruster. This was one of those moments that made me just sort of sit there and think wow, I’m actually doing things that I dreamed of when I was younger. I’ve also been able to help design and build new equipment and that is always a great sense of achievement when you see things that have only been on paper or computer models actually become a reality. I also managed to develop a process for depositing a particularly high temperature ceramic material that can be used in spaceplanes like Skylon, and for solar power generators that no one else could do in the UK so that was a really proud moment for me. One thing that I’m really looking forward to is getting to go to Orlando in May to present my research at a big conference, (it’s also a terrifying prospect). This will be a great opportunity for me to meet lots of people that I respect in my field and network and make connections. It also means I get to visit the Kennedy Space Center which is like my version of Disneyland! I’m lucky in that my job allows me to continually develop and research interesting and exciting things so I’m sure if you asked me this question the same time every year I might have a different answer! The best thing you do might not be creating something, it can be solving a problem or coming up with a way of doing things that can change the way the world works. That’s what makes engineering so exciting, it brings so many challenges and opportunities that offer us as engineers the chance to make the world, (or beyond it into space), a slightly better place. Are you considering a career in engineering? What would the sort of things you would like to be part of or achieve?