Izzy Hobbs smiling at the camera standing next to her project poster

Engineering project exhibition 2024: Izzy Hobbs, Aeronautical Engineering MEng

Izzy Hobbs is studying Aeronautical Engineering MEng. We caught up with her as our final year students were preparing to show their project posters at the Engineering Project Exhibition, to find out more about her project and life at Brighton.

How did you choose your course and what was your route into engineering?

I chose to study a MEng in Aeronautical Engineering after completing my EPQ (Extended Writing Project Qualification) during sixth form. Since year 9 I knew I wanted to study engineering, but I wanted to go into a specific discipline. For my EPQ, I decided to write a dissertation on “How rockets have evolved.” and I loved it, so I chose aeronautical engineering.

How would you describe your course and your time at Brighton to someone who is thinking of coming here?

I have enjoyed my time studying at Brighton. Despite joining during 2020 and experiencing lockdowns during my studies, I have made some amazing friends and made memories that I look back on fondly. My course has been challenging as expected when I first decided that I wanted to study it, however, I believe that it is manageable especially if you make sure to take during the week for yourself. For me, this has been by playing rugby with the university team and local club, everyone is in the same boat and it’s really benefited me to have this time to enjoy what else the university has to offer.

Tell us about your final project

My project is about using additive manufacturing to topology optimise a wing for a fixed wing UAV. I originally came up with the idea during my placement last year after discovering an interest in additive manufacturing. I then spoke to Dr Miche, my academic supervisor during the placement year and we developed my idea together. Dr Miche has continued to support me during this project after he agreed to supervise me during this too. The main focus of my project is to use the topology optimisation study to reduce the mass of the UAV wings without compromising the specific strength. By doing this, replacement parts can be produced and equipped without the need for specifically trained personnel, helping to reduce the manufacturing cost. It will allow the UAVs to fly for longer due to the reduction in mass, significantly reducing the environmental impact.

What have been the highlights of your course?

For me, my favourite part of my course has been my placement year. During my placement year at Collins Aerospace I also applied for and was accepted as 1 of 60 onto the McLaren 60 Scholars Programme and was able to do both simultaneously. The 60 Scholars events were mainly online and my placement fully supported me to go and do the sessions whilst at work as it was helping my development as a women in STEM.

This programme was designed to nurture and empower the next generation of female STEM leaders. Throughout the programme, I had access to exclusive masterclasses, interactive Q&A sessions with industry experts and networking opportunities. It aimed to support my growth. I visited the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking (MTC) for the wrap-day event where we had a talk by Zak Brown the CEO of McLaren Racing and many of their STEM Ambassadors, we also got to participate in the pitstop challenge. My group managed to change the tire in 5 seconds!

I spent my placement year working withing the mechanical engineering team at the Electronic Control and Motor Systems site in Solihull (ECMS) site for Collins Aerospace. The site is responsible for the 1MW electric motor and motor controller for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Regional Hybrid-Electric Flight Demonstrator.

I worked on many various projects, exposing me to the different teams onsite such as supply chain, test development and project managers.

I developed my soft skills using the IMechE SRS to help me and my mentor identify and track my strengths and weaknesses to improve upon. I was also given the fantastic opportunity to mentor a group of 6 sixth form students to complete their Industrial Cadet Gold Project, a program I took part in 4 years ago. I absolutely loved this part of my placement as I helped them decided if a STEM career was for them. I let them pick my brain about both professional and personal topics, supporting them however I could to assist them make the best career for them.

How has your course helped prepare you for your career? And what are your plans after graduation?

My course has helped me prepare for my career by including group projects throughout my degree, since that is what happens when you enter the industry. You work with a range or people, whether you get on with them or not, you have to make it work and learning how to adapt and make good rapport with people quickly to tackle a common problem is vital for entering the industry. After completing my Masters, my plans would be to get a job with a graduate scheme. I think the structure and chance to work within different teams will benefit me have a deeper understanding of the company as a whole. My goal is to also become Chartered, having being mentored during my placement year by a Fellow of the IMechE I found it was extremely useful for developing myself and becoming more conscious of what I am doing and why.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of studying engineering at Brighton?

Be prepared for an enjoyable challenge, you will have a chance to develop your technical knowledge as well as any personal interests, academic or not. Try out as much as you can, say yes to opportunities even if they’re not something you normally would try or do. I would 100% recommend doing a placement year, the experience and connections that you will make are invaluable. But mainly, enjoy yourself and the experiences.

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