Sarah Mohd Mokhdhari

Why did you decide to study MEng Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Leeds?

I have always had an interest in the way things work, and since I was young maths and science have been my favourite subjects. My interest in sciences, particularly physics, has developed throughout my school years and I enjoy the challenge of using scientific and mathematical ideas when solving everyday problems. In regards to the choice of course, I chose Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering simply because my origin country (Malaysia) has little number of engineers in this field. I believe that the aerospace industry is at the forefront of innovation, pushing the boundaries of technological advancement at an exponential rate. The design and manufacture of craft that can defy the limits of our world, or go beyond the decree of nature, is arguably the pinnacle of engineering in the world today. This fills me with a desire to be a part of this great prolific system of creativity and ingenuity.

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

The best part of studying on my course is that I get to choose my specific area of Mechanical Engineering when I enter level 3. As for now, I am learning the Mechanical Engineering modules for level 1 and 2 which gives me diversity and widens my chances of choosing the best options for my future career. Other than that, I love the way the university has arranged the tutorial sessions to be once a week, meeting the tutor who is kind of like a parent to us, as they are keeping track of our grades and performance until we graduate. Through this medium, I get to discuss matters that concern me as it is not always academic and this helps me get through the challenges of being away from family.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far? 

My first year projects were very stimulating from the beginning.I remembered how excited I was when I started to learn Solidworks, LabVIEW and MATLAB which were to be used in my projects. The most challenging project that was assigned to us was the glider build project, where we had to build a prototype from scratch, given limited sources such as plywood, tissue paper and some glue. With little knowledge in what a glider should look like, I think my team did a great job in producing one using Solidworks to design it. At the beginning of my first semester, we worked in a team of 6 to build a gearbox with an assigned gear ratio using Solidworks to come up with detailed 2D drawings of shafts and gearbox assemble. In the final project, we had to build a cardboard bridge and performed tensile tests on the structural members of the bridge which finally solved truss equations using MATLAB. Based on all of the projects we have done so far, I think my communication skills and confidence level have improved significantly over time as well as my organisational skills and team working. I realise that to be an engineer does not solely depend on the creative ideas but on the communication skill and the way we present the ideas as well. It is a great thing to work in a group since Level 1, as I have the chance to develop some new skills before I reach Level 3, which I absolutely sure I am going to need them for my individual project.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is a great city for students with easy access to public transports with everything is walking distance. For a Muslim student like me, Leeds offers a great range of Halal food and groceries, from Middle East cuisine to Asian and Western! They say to win someone’s heart is through the tummy, well I can say Leeds has won my heart ever since I’ve been here!

What are your ambitions for the future?

I don’t have any specific preference whether to work in my origin country (Malaysia) or here in the UK, but to be true, having some work experience in a place other than my origin country would be the best option that I should choose. Like other engineers, I am aiming to be a chartered engineer within 5 years after I graduate.As for now, I am looking forward for my summer internship to strengthen my CV.

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

I think being away from home has been a bonus for me. It gives me a great start to my future career as I am adapting to a new environment, which is a major challenge that I am still working on. I get to learn to manage my time wisely as I believe nobody is going to wait for you if you don’t work for yourself. Plus, being consistent throughout the process of learning has also been something that I have developed. I always make preparation before entering a class, knowing that it would bring a huge different to my understanding of particular subjects rather than coming into class without having any idea of what the learning will be all about. I am sure that I will continue to make great progress in the future throughout my 4 years of being here.

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

Do not hesitate to apply! The staff here are super experienced in the field and I always look for them for advice as they are very supportive. The course may be challenging but let’s face it, if many great achievers can do it, why can’t you?