Miranda left the WMG Academy for Young Engineers in summer 2016. She began studying Civil Engineering at Coventry University in September 2016.
Picking up where we left off…
Everyone began the spring term refreshed. We carried on with the topics from last term, and continued to attend lectures at the University of Warwick for the Innovation in Engineering assignment. We learnt about alternative marketing strategies, and we applied this knowledge to the specific companies we were studying. We explored the methods they use to market themselves and thought about innovative ways to expand the businesses further. I enjoyed learning about sustainable design and the circular economy. It made me realise how interlinked our planet is, and how a few small changes to the design of a product can assist recycling, and in turn impact upon other generations. In maths we finished learning Mechanics 2, focusing on Statics of Rigid Bodies. Whilst the principle of moments was the same from Mechanics module 1, the use of more complex angles made it considerably more challenging.
In addition, I started my art exam work where I chose the title ‘Secret Spaces’. I began to explore this concept by looking at how to make the most of overlooked areas. I explored places where secretive spaces could be created in everyday objects. I played around with the artistic style of Tanaka Tatsuya, and set up a building site scene in the crumb tray of my toaster using model railway figurines. In the second half of term my physics class was on fire! We whizzed through the final unit for our A-level, learnt about Thermal and Astro Physics and even managed to complete an ISA on how centre of mass impacts the oscillation of pendulums. It was really interesting to find out how the Doppler effect can show whether stars or other celestial bodies are moving towards or away from the earth.
Throughout the spring term my engineering classmates and I worked continuously on our TeenTech competition ideas. TeenTech is for UK students working in teams to pitch a more efficient way to tackle a problem. The problem my team chose was the inefficiency of renewable energy sources. We researched tidal turbines, and proposed a way for the system to run more efficiently by adding an accelerometer and encoder. The accelerometer can be used to detect collisions that may have damaged the turbine allowing it to be fixed quickly. This is imperative to reduce the time lost whilst it is only generating a minimal amount of electricity. The encoder would monitor the turning speed of the turbine and be able to send this information back to land. We finished the term on a high with our engineering class presenting our TeenTech work in TEDx style event at WMG, University of Warwick. We were given a great introduction from the young entrepreneur George Edwards, the founder of Gas-Sense, who spoke of his transition from student to business-man. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya closed the event with an inspiring speech on the importance of becoming a new generation of engineers, and how we could bring about change and in turn make a difference.
UCAS applications, sculptures and mechanics
The autumn term was a busy one. It was the first time the WMG Academy for Young Engineers had been at full capacity with all four year groups and a full cohort of teachers too. It was odd to get used to having to share the space with the new students, and to get used to a longer line in the dinner queue! But it didn’t take long for everyone to start finding their place. I also had to get used to being in the first group of Year 13s in the Academy and face up to the new pressures of being in the final important year.
In the first half term I came back from the holidays excited to write about my visit to Banksy’s Dismaland for my art dissertation. I also started learning the next chapters of maths and physics and realised how much there was to cover. For engineering, I began the Cummins assignment, where I learnt about how engines are maintained. In this unit I was taught about the theory and then got to practically disassemble, then reassemble, a fuel injector. I also started lessons on instrumentation and control for the summer exam. This was challenging as it was full of content I was completely new to. Not to forget UCAS, I wrote, rewrote and rewrote again my personal statement, and finally applied to do a civil engineering degree. The computer rooms became packed with Year 13s applying to universities and apprenticeships.
Yet with hard work there are rewards. I and many of my friends celebrated at the WMG Academy’s first awards evening. It was great to acknowledge the previous year’s achievements with elegant glass shields, and all of the engineering sponsors were there to present them.
In the second half term, I finished off unit 4 in physics, we did some ISA practise, and I started mechanics in maths. Though mechanics is difficult, I find it satisfying to learn as I know I will need it in my degree course. I also got many odd looks after I created a sculpture of a head made entirely out of sellotape. This translucent piece was striking and is made in the style of the artist Mark Jenkins for my art coursework. After finishing the Cummins assignment in engineering, I started attending lectures at WMG to learn about innovation. Every fortnight my principal learning class would go down to the University of Warwick where lecturers would teach us about entrepreneurs, the difference between innovation and invention, marketing, and environmental and social impact on designs. I enjoyed learning from a variety of guest speakers too. I particularly liked hearing about the reality of being an entrepreneur from Hugh Rashleigh with his pbone invention - a working trombone made from plastic.
The autumn term ended with everyone looking forward to the Christmas break with a humorous send-off packaged as a Christmas video starring our very own teachers.
Miranda is studying A levels in Maths, Physics and Art and a Principal Learning Engineering Diploma.
Her ambition is get a MEng degree and become a Civil Engineer.