Tom Chapell

Country: United Kingdom
Subject of study: Mechanical Engineering
Year of graduation: 2019
Type/Level of study: Post graduate

What did you enjoy most about your degree programme?

I most enjoyed the collaborative aspects of my MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree programme. The completion of various BEng (Stage 3) and MEng (Stage 4) group projects has provided a wide variety of opportunities to develop innovative, turnkey solutions across a myriad of engineering disciplines (incl. solid mechanics, thermofluidic dynamics and systems analysis). I am most proud of my contributions towards the success of the “Blast Resistant Structural Design” group (G2) project – specifically, the development of a Finite Element Analysis and iterative Topology Optimisation scheme to analyse and improve, respectively, the Dynamic Blast Response of various engineering structures, subject to a predefined Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) detonation. The key findings of this collaborative project demonstrated scope for implementation in the conceptual design and construction of future, blast resistant engineering structures; reducing the likelihood of lethal injury outcomes in the event of a successful VBIED attack. The opportunity to collaborate with fellow students, staff members and industry links in order to make a tangible difference to the engineering sector is just one example of why I chose to study MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering and why I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University of Exeter.

Some of the students were are profiling have in addition to their degree been awarded a departmental prize or award in recognition of their exceptional achievements. If this applies to you please can you tell us about the award you have received and what this award means to you?

I have been fortunate enough to be awarded both the Robert W Flux Memorial Prize (Retired Chartered Engineers’ Club) and Dean El Mariesh Memorial Prize for “Most Notable Contribution to Engineering”. Naturally, I am thrilled that both my academic and extracurricular efforts have been recognised by the University. I have taken immense pride in representing (and contributing towards the continued success of) the University of Exeter. While both awards are individual, I must thank my fellow students and academic supervisors for their support – without whom I would have unlikely had the opportunity achieve my final degree result nor have my efforts formally recognised.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

IMechE Formula Student Team (XRacing), Engineering Society (ExEng), Raise & Give (RAG).

What was the highlight of your time at Exeter?

The highlight of my time at the University of Exeter has been meeting the life long friends that I will be leaving with – every experience shared together has been invaluable to me. This includes everything from the formal events (e.g. end of season dinners) to the days spent together on campus (e.g. library revision sessions). I think the people (both students and staff) at the University of Exeter are second to none. I look forward to making many more memories in the future. 

What will you miss the most about University?

I will miss the convenience of always being within a 10-minute walk/bike ride from anything/everything I could ever possibly need. The location of the Streatham Campus relative to the City centre, student housing and national transport links is beyond ideal.

What advice would you give to current and future students? (If you are an international student what would you like to tell future students from back home who might be thinking about applying to study in Exeter?)

 Stay organised, remain objective and do not panic. Going to University is essentially one massive emotional roller coaster (i.e. full of ups and downs). Remember to organise/prioritise your time effectively and make sure to allocate time for yourself (e.g. going to the gym, baking cakes, playing video games, etc). A healthy work/life balance is essential for an enjoyable and successful experience at University.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?

I plan to enjoy some well earned time off over summer. In September, I will start work as a Graduate Engineer in the Building Asset Management team at AECOM Infrastructure & Environment UK Limited. I hope to build upon my existing portfolio of work experience in the engineering sector and further develop the professional competencies necessary for Chartership and professional registration (IMechE).


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