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Meet the engineering student reaching for the stars

Friday 01 February 2019

Reading time: 2 minutes

After developing jet engines for Rolls-Royce on her course, Jodie Howlett is now set to study at the International Space University in Strasbourg.

MEng Mechanical Engineering student Jodie Howlett was named one of the UK’s top 50 women under 35 in engineering by the Daily Telegraph. She spent part of her course on placement at Rolls-Royce, helping the company develop more powerful and efficient jet engines. 

Now she is set to take part in the Space Studies Program at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.

What gave you the bug for engineering?

From a young age, I always enjoyed maths and science at school. Then I discovered engineering and fell in love. It’s all about applying the subjects I love to solve problems and create a better world.

Why did you choose Sheffield Hallam?

There were two main reasons. Firstly, Hallam has strong links with industry and really encourages work-based learning, like my year-long work placement.

Secondly, I really like Sheffield as a city. Location is very important to me, and living in such a friendly and social city with good transport links has been great.

What’s your course been like so far?

It’s been a good mix of theory and practical learning. The lab and workshop sessions really help you understand how to apply what you learn. And there are several extracurricular projects to get involved in – I’ve helped to build a subsonic wind tunnel, for example.

I’ve also gained two scholarships during my studies, worth £14,000. Hallam were great in supporting my applications for these.

Engineering student Jodie Howlett on placement at Rolls-Royce

Tell us about your placement experience at Rolls Royce.

For my third year, I worked in the civil aerospace business of Rolls-Royce in Derby. My role as a product definition engineer involved working closely with designers to fully define concepts for future jet engines, using computer-aided design.

Working for a world-class company has allowed me to gain skills that will stay with me for life. I’m currently working an extra summer internship with Rolls-Royce as a manufacturing engineer, which is allowing me to learn about the assembly and testing side of jet engine production.

What did it mean to you to be named one of the top 50 women in engineering?

It’s fantastic to receive this level of recognition! I am very honoured to be listed alongside so many incredible women.

How do you feel about studying at the International Space University?

I am really excited. It should be a fantastic experience and an opportunity to study a fascinating area of engineering, alongside students from different backgrounds and experiences. 

I'll specialise in one particular area which I hope will be space engineering. I’ll be applying my learning through team projects and workshops, working with other students – I really can't wait to get started!

What advice do you have for future students?

Ask lots of questions and get yourself involved while you're at university. The more you put in, the more you get out.

Say yes to whatever opportunities present themselves, and don’t be afraid of a challenge. You will develop your skills most when you are out of your comfort zone.

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