Winner Anu talks about her experience entering the competition

Winner Anu talks about her experience entering the competition

(Anu with Talent 2030 judge Dr Ozak Esu at the Big Bang Fair)

In my household, I practically grew up with engineering. Both of my parents studied electrical engineering in university and despite their lack of practice now, most of my youth has been spent listening to the tales of whatever inventions they made or the technical science they once, so earnestly, strove to learn.

Now as a sixteen- year- old secondary school student from London I’m making the transition from GCSEs to A-levels. I’ve never been entirely sure of what to do later on in life in terms of work and a career choice, which is why I’m so thankful that I came across the Talent 2030 competition.

Upon seeing the details of the task, my drive to enter was fuelled by creation: the brief was so malleable. I was able to mould it into my favour- relating topics we’ve already learnt at school as well as my own interests and knowledge, all into one project. Studying all three sciences most definitely came in handy for the technical ideas behind it all. However, unexpectedly, taking Product and Art helped greatly for the designing aspect of the project and English too, which aided the articulation and wording of the report. 

My project: a report on the design and manufacture of an Algae Scrubber was inspired by several different projects I’ve researched and seen beforehand. For example, the geometric dome that sits upon the photobioreactor (where the algae are cultivated to perform photosynthesis), was inspired by iconic domes of The Eden Project. When compared to the smooth glass dome which was in the first drafts of my design, the plastic of the Eden domes was much more beneficial: both to the environment and the design itself.

Though the project took up a lot of my time, I spent most it content that, what was once a fragment of my imagination, was manifesting into something both physical (as my model) and readable (as the report). I was happy that, whether I would win or not, a professional engineer would read and assess my work and that, in itself was enough for me. But I’m glad I won in my category: I’m over the moon actually. Even now, just over a month after the fair, it still seems surreal- like a dream I can never forget.

The Big Bang Fair is definitely an event I’ll return to year after year. It was amazing, my family and I were completely taken aback by all the things we could see and do. From aeroplane engines to microscopy and robotics, there was something for everyone.

Right now, my primary focus lies with getting good grades in my GCSE exams, but afterwards I’ll be trying to narrow down my preferences to find a career that’ll work best for me, since, unlike what I first thought, participating in this competition opened up several opportunities, and encouraged me to work in a career that combines as many things that I like as possible, as doing this project did.

I’d like to thank all the organisers and the judges for supporting me throughout the process; it was simply just being around such eager and inspirational people that made me feel both welcomed and keen to pursue something extraordinary later in life, rather than conforming to the gender norms of our society.

by Anu, The Latymer School – winner of the 15-16 age category in the 2017/18 competition

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