Civil engineering, construction and building

Blog about civil engineering and construction

Alumni in the spotlight – Tracey Williamson

We interviewed Tracey Williamson, who graduated in BEng (Hons) Environmental Civil Engineering with Environmental Engineering Technology at University of Brighton in 1996.
She is currently Chair of the British Dam Society and Associate Director of the Dams and Reservoirs Engineering team in Arup. Tracey had a diverse career as supervising engineer and dam safety manager with experience in the United Kingdom and overseas. Also, Tracey is involved with research associated with the safety of embankment and concrete dams.

Tracey is coming to speak to staff and students as part of our seminar series on 16 January with an introduction to dams, the hazards that threaten their safely and the mechanisms that can result in catastrophic failure of these structures.

What made you choose Civil Engineering at Brighton?
As a mature student with no relevant college qualifications, my options were limited. Brighton University provided me with the opportunity to prove my ability to return to education and upskill. I preceded my Engineering Degree course with a Foundation Engineering course, which brought my knowledge up to the level required to successfully transition to Degree level.

What made Brighton special to you?
Our course tutor was incredibly supportive and all the staff at the University were always available to help and encourage us to succeed. The facilities were also excellent, providing a relaxed learning environment.
Additionally, there was an excellent variety of clubs available for extra-curricular activities. I joined the Mountaineering Club and also learnt to play rugby with the University’s Women’s Rugby Club. I made some life-long friends there.

Do you have a favourite place in Brighton?
I guess that would be the nightclub where we ended up after a rugby match on a Wednesday evening! I don’t remember the name now!

What brings you the most happiness or satisfaction in your career?
Solving technical challenges and delivering sustainable and appropriate solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of communities through the delivery of a safe and reliable water supply. Dams schemes in the UK always require bespoke designs due to site specific constraints and the age of the assets (being over 120 years old on average). No day is the same in dam engineering!
Additionally, I get a great deal of job satisfaction from mentoring and coaching people, and helping them to achieve their goals.

What advice would you give to an up-and-coming Civil Engineering student of today?
Seize every opportunity. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Every day you can learn and use that knowledge to do incredible things.

Suzanne Armsden • January 14, 2019

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