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Abigail Jaitman

I am pursuing a PhD in Engineering - I'm two years into a three year degree. I have two supervisors who help me and guide me through the project. Although I don’t have interim examinations, I regularly submit reports on the work that I am doing. All my documents are evaluated by a progress panel. They monitor my progress and review it yearly.

Regarding my academic background, I decided to pursue a career in Engineering because, like other Sciences, allows us to understand and analyse some of the most relevant problems of our times. But it is certainly unique in providing us with the tools to design and implement a solution, thus transforming our realities.

I completed a six years undergraduate Electronic Engineering degree in the University of Belgrano (Buenos Aires, Argentina), graduating with distinction in 2011 and ranking first on my cohort.

I decided to apply to Warwick because I'm motivated by a profound interest in applying my engineering skills and finding innovative solutions to important problems of our times, I have adopted the goal of building a brilliant career combining frontier research with applied working experience.

This is an almost unexplored area in my country, Argentina, but there is a great need for highly qualified professionals in Bioengineering. Therefore, I decided to apply for a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Warwick, as this program provided me of first quality training from this exceptional faculty that has a long-dating tradition for rigorously assessing topics inherent to the engineering applied to medicine.

I wanted to focus on Bioengineering to develop and adapt technology to improve the living standards of the people. I have already acquired relevant experience in the field which made me realize that Bioengineering is the area of knowledge in which I want to specialise.

I was delighted with my research project since the very beginning as it combines all the background I have gained so far, personal, academic and professionally speaking.

Coming from a different country, even a different continent; I must say that I found many differences. To start with, and engineering degree in Argentina take (at least) six years. We have many specific courses depending on the kind of engineering you decide to study, so you finish your studies being a specialist on the chosen field. Masters and PhD are not very popular as the undergraduate degree already takes too long and goes very deep on the selected branch. However, we don’t have so many resources in Argentina. We need to figure out how to solve the problems with what we already have as there is no big budget for the projects. This is a big disadvantage but at the same time it allows us to think outside of the box and be creative about the ways we face everyday’s problems.

In terms of organisation, Warwick Univesity facilitates all the materials needed, so the student just needs to focus on their studies. I consider that for pursuing a PhD you need to be a very proactive person as your research depends mainly on you.

Bearing in mind that Bioengineering is such a relevant field that has not received enough attention in Argentina, it is my belief that highly-trained professionals are imperiously needed in my country. In spite of the great needs said field is experiencing in Argentina, there is no local university offering this degree- which at the same time reinforces my will of promoting this Science in my country. Accordingly, I am convinced that further education in the United Kingdom will guide me towards an enriching career in Bioengineering. Only then, my professional aims will be wholly achieved and my contribution will be worth for my country. Marie Curie is a source of inspiration. She is not only notable for her discoveries, but also because of her visionary personality. She has outstanding accomplishments on science, but also produced a breakthrough in the society becoming the first female professor.

I was really scared before coming. For me it didn’t only mean starting a PhD but going on a huge new adventure: new country, new people, new topics. I still remember the first day. I was as nervous as when I started primary school. But the way everybody welcomed me made me feel like at home rapidly. That feeling of starting something new that could change the course of a lifetime; the perfect mixture of hunger, anxiety and ambition. I will never forget that day.

Everyone and everything in the university has been very helpful. From the professors till the library itself. All combined provide a perfect atmosphere for developing my research. We have even workshops that help us develop our research skills.

As a bursary student, I have to complete 120 working hours for the university. At the beginning of each term, I am allocated different duties (which can range from demonstrations to exams script checking). Therefore, I usually split my time between my own research and my duties.

I am eager to contribute to the Department in any way they consider suitable given my professional experience. I particularly enjoy participating in Open Days and Taster sessions, because I believe that by talking about my experience, my fears and aims, I can inspire other people. It is very important to show that no matter how many obstacles you may encounter, if you are perseverant there is always a way to achieve your goals.

To other students considering graduate study at Warwick, I would say it is an opportunity that you cannot miss! The university’s atmosphere is unique, with exceptional professionals and high quality education. The campus and its facilities allow you to achieve a perfect balance between your studies and your social life. This experience is also enriching in terms of cultural exchange, you will be able to meet people from all around the world as a high proportion of the students are overseas. My friends have turned into my 'Warwick Family' and I am sure I wouldn’t be able to go through this whole experience without them. Being far away from home has been difficult, but with their support they have made it all much easier

I believe that any student coming from my country will find this place, as I usually say, like Disneyland. We have access to so many resources, labs, books, facilities that it is almost surreal for me. The importance people give to your education is astonishing and motivates you to improve every day. They make you feel you are important, your thoughts, your work and the outcome of your experiments really do matter!

I must say the biggest culture shock coming from Argentina has definitely been the food! Food is so characteristic of every country that I couldn’t get used to the British one yet. Otherwise, the university embraces multicultural demographics, so I felt we could all share the same feelings. We are people from all around the world, gathered at Warwick University!

Fact file

Tell us an interesting fact about you! I have always felt attracted by the art, I enjoy very much singing, dancing and acting. In fact, when I was a little girl, I used to say that I wanted to be an Electrician and a Dancer. I am definitely not a dancer, but I got to be an Electronic Engineer!

What other interests do you have? As previously mentioned, I really enjoy singing, dancing and acting. I’ve even studied musical theatre back home. I feel that being and engineer and having such a structured pattern of thoughts, music –in any of its forms- is what keeps me grounded.

It is fascinating to see how music can connect people coming from so different cultures and completely different parts of the world. This experience is also enriching in terms of cultural exchange, you will be able to meet people from all around the world as a high proportion of the students are overseas.

Title of research project: Foot Modelling with application to Diabetes
Supervisors: Dr Michael Chappell and Dr Neil Evans