Becky Penhale-Jones

Why did you decide to study Chemical and Energy Engineering at the University of Leeds?

I first heard about chemical engineering on a school trip to GlaxoSmithKline in Weybridge; the people there explained that it was a well suited job for me due to the A levels that I was studying at the time (maths, physics and chemistry). I then went onto the UCAS website to see which universities offered the course, and what the modules would involve. It was in this search that I found that some universities, such as Leeds, offered combined courses of chemical engineering and something else. I looked into chemical and energy engineering and decided that it was a good option for me as it could lead to a broad spectrum of jobs, and I was very undecided as to what job I wanted to do in the future. I initially thought that the chemical engineering part would be what I was most interested in, as I was interested in producing either pharmaceuticals or foods, but as my course goes on I am coming to realise that it's actually renewable energies that I am most passionate about.

Leeds was the first university that I visited in year 12, and I completely fell in love with it. I attended an open day and went on a tour of the campus. I liked how compact everything seemed to be, with the students' union only a few minutes away from the main engineering building. Going on a tour of the union was my favourite part of that day, because I found it incredible how many things could be squeezed into one building.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

The social life has been my favourite aspect by far, as I have made some great friends through my course. The girls that I made friends with in first year are some of my best friends now, and we intend to live together when we do our Masters degrees.

The large amount of group work that you participate in through choosing this course really help in mixing with people you might otherwise never have spoken to, but it really helps to ensure your work is the best it can be. If there is one area of work that you aren't particularly strong in, your project won't suffer, as someone else in your group will be able to do it and help you understand it too.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is a really great city for students, due to having such a huge and diverse student population. There are so many different club nights, shops and restaurants that there is something for everyone, no matter what your tastes are. One of my favourite things about Leeds as a city is that the students aren't just an inconvenience to the locals; we're a big part of city life.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I don't know exactly what I want to do in the future, but I'd love to work with renewable energies, in particular with hydroelectricity, as that is what I have found most interesting in my studies so far. I still have two years left at uni though, so that could change!

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

I would tell them to not stress too much about the workload; although it is hard work, that won't stop you making the most of uni life.