Joyce Awinbun Apanga

What course are you studying?  

Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy Systems

Why did you decide to study masters at the University of Leeds?

The high research orientation of the University of Leeds coupled with the high ranking of the Faculty of Engineering (ranked 4th amongst UK Universities in the 2016 ranking by The Guardian) informed my decision in the first place. The educational experience offered by the modern educational facilities in the labs and lecture theaters together with the dedicated lecturers is another attribute of the University I didn’t want to miss. I am a friendly and loving person who always wants to meet new people, make friends and develop long lasting networks. The University of Leeds offers that environment, a wide range of international student body together with countless clubs I could join.

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

To start with, I love the fact that I’m gaining both theoretical and practical experience. For a course like Electric Power Generation by Renewable Sources, I had hands-on experience with solar panels, simulating real life scenarios in the renewable energy lab. Theoretical data was also achieved using MATLAB software and comparison between the two made.

Also, the university skills at library organise a lot of short courses and seminars to help students develop and improve on their academic and employability skills.

I have also made a lot of friends from diverse cultures through fun clubs. The Conservation volunteers club, which I belong to, has helped me meet likeminded people who care about conserving our environment.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

For one of my courses (Mini-Labs and Projects), I designed and built a temperature data logger to measure temperature of the environment, display and plot the temperature on a screen and also save the temperature data for later user. I used an mbed development board (NXP LPC1768 microcontroller), a low power digital temperature sensor (TMP102) and a Nokia 5110 display, all soldered onto a printed circuit board which I designed using eagle software. This is my best project so far.

Another project I undertook was to design and control a photovoltaic (PV) system using MATLAB and Simulink software. This involved representing the PV system as an S-function on MATLAB and using a boost converter to control the PV system ensuring that the maximum possible power is extracted from it regardless of the prevailing weather conditions.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

There are a lot of shopping centers in Leeds City Centre, which is just a walking distance from campus. The best part is that, almost all of these shops offer discounts to students. Whether it’s a clothes shop, shoe shop, a restaurant, or even a salon you walk into, all you need to do is show your ID and you will get a discount. There are also special shopping events organised for students with massive price reduction.

The people in Leeds are also very friendly and always welcoming. In general Leeds is a student-friendly place.

What are your ambitions for the future?

It is my desire to work in the power sector of my country and focus on sustainable energy. I will exhibit qualities that will make my views and contributions on sustainable energy heard and thus play a key role in policy and decision making for the sector.

I will also want to promote sustainable energy by organizing free seminars for students and the general public who have interest in sustainable energy.

Pursuing a doctorate in renewable energy is something I will consider after some field experience.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

The knowledge I have gained in renewable energy will help me understand the field better and also be able to carry out any project in renewable energy.

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

I would tell them they have made the right decision ever. I came to Leeds with just the love for renewable energy and in less in 4 months I can boast of having acquired so much knowledge in the field that will make me succeed in industry. Don’t be worried if you don’t have any renewable energy background; the structure of the program suits students with any engineering background.