Civil engineering, construction and building

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Graduate Olivia Hughes

ICE student prize winner 2020 Olivia Hughes

Olivia is absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Student Prize for 2020 . Olivia graduated this year with a Civil Engineering MEng with a first-class honours degree. She is really excited to move onto her next step which will be to start work with Buro Happold this November where she will be joining their Structures Team!

We interviewed Olivia as part of our Alumni in the Spotlight series.

  • What made you choose Civil Engineering at Brighton? I chose Civil Engineering as I had an interest in structures and buildings, which grew throughout the course into a passion. I knew Brighton as a fun and vibrant city and wanted to explore and get to know a new, exciting place.
  • What are your favourite memories from your time at The University of Brighton? The lovely people I met and the supportive team around me. It was a wonderful experience meeting interesting people from all over the world.
  • What was the most challenging/rewarding part of your university undergraduate experience? Any course highlights? Finishing my final year of my MEng course in lockdown! But with the help of my dissertation tutor and my lecturers it all came together and finished on a high. Taking a Year in Industry was also a rewarding aspect of my degree. I worked for a Main Contractor, a Piling Contractor on site and a Structural Engineering company in Berlin which meant I got experience in lots of different aspects of Civil Engineering. It meant I could implement what I had learnt so far on the course and helped hugely in my final years.
  • Do you have a favourite place in Brighton? My favourite place is the seafront – walking from the Marina to Hove on a gorgeous sunny day is a lovely thing to do. And, of course, the beach as well. I will always have fond memories of barbeques and fires on the beach watching the sunset.
  • What advice would you give to an up-and-coming Civil Engineering student of today? Ask lots of questions! There are lots of passionate lecturers at Brighton who have years of experience and are more than willing to help. Civil Engineering is such a broad and fascinating subject, it is important to discover what aspects of it you like best. Later in the course you can then choose modules which are best suited to your interests, meaning you will get the most out of your degree.
  • What does the future look like for you? I am starting work in November as a Graduate Structural Engineer at Buro Happold in Bath. I will be working from home which will be a new experience, but I can’t wait to begin. Currently, I am tutoring Maths and Physics to school children and trying to promote careers with STEM subjects such as Civil Engineering. I hope to inspire the younger generation, especially girls, to feel like there are no barriers stopping them from doing the subjects they like best.

Laura Ruby • October 9, 2020


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