Monday, 1 June 2020

Celebrating SELA’s Royal Academy of Engineers Scholarship Winners

SELA is proud to announce that members Sam Maxwell and Sam Rhodes have been chosen as winners of this year’s Engineering Leaders Scholarship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The RAEng has a long history of engineering excellence and part of this is identifying next generation leaders in the field. The Engineering Leaders Scholarship identifies these future leaders and supports their personal and professional development. The scholarship includes a £5,000 personal award over three years towards career development activities, as well as offering exciting opportunities to develop the winners’ potential, such as undertaking an accelerated personal development programme. All of which helps the winners bag that dream job post graduation!

The scholarship is open to all undergraduate students who have completed their first year in engineering or a related field, so competition for places is fierce. SELA would like to take this opportunity to extend a huge congratulations to both Sam Maxwell and Sam Rhodes for this phenomenal achievement.

Sam Maxwell is an Electronic Engineering (MEng) student in the third year of his degree. Originally from York, Sam competed for York Gymnastics Foundation for seven years before moving to Sheffield. He found a passion for engineering during secondary school when he set off a door alarm and was fascinated by the results: ‘I remember pulling a door and was amazed that a simple switch could control lights and sound so easily.’

Sam is no stranger to success; winning the Arkwright scholarship during secondary school was what prompted him to choose the University of Sheffield, as it enabled him to visit the campus and inspired him to study here.

Choosing to apply for the Engineering Leaders Scholarship was easy for Sam, who says: ‘The Royal Academy of Engineering is a very prestigious institution and it’s fantastic to be affiliated with them in this way.’ Sam is also looking forward to developing his skills through his scholarship, with a particular eye toward further developing the leadership ability that SELA has helped foster in him.

‘The scholarship will allow me to gain the training and experience required to find positions where I can exercise and develop the leadership skills I’ve learned through the scholarship and SELA.’

When asked if he has any advice for applicants to similar schemes, Sam’s advice is to utilise the people around you. He highlights Dr Gary Wood, Head of SELA, as instrumental in helping him with his preparation for both the application and the interview.

With regards to where he sees himself in five years, Sam says that he’s looking forward to becoming a Chartered Engineer as soon as he can post-graduation. He also hopes to still be maintaining his engineering blog, and travelling widely.

Sam Rhodes is currently studying Mechatronics and Robots (MEng) at the University of Sheffield. For Sam, love of engineering comes straight from a place of compassion; his interest in the subject was first peaked by seeing Gromit using his cycolmatic to help others!

‘I always aspired to be like Gromit from Wallace and Gromit because - whilst I didn’t want to be a dog - I loved how he was able to just fix anything!’

This love was further fostered through inventing gadgets for his grandmother to help her around the house.

Sam applied for the scholarship in order to challenge himself. Hoping to run his own business one day, Sam recognises the skills that the scholarship will help develop, such as active listening, negotiation skills, and confidence, are all ones that will serve him well in the future. Sam also highlights the help he has received from the people around him, especially SELA graduates Matthew Smith and Jake Brown, and Barnaby Bisset.

‘Through the scholarship, I hope to further develop qualities I personally view as most important for a leader: honesty, integrity, and compassion.’

Despite the pressure Sam found the interview process relatively straightforward. His secret? Talking about his passion! Sam says: ‘Talk about your passion: it is where your heart is, and people will buy into that emotion and enthusiasm.’ His top advice is to try and convey the passion you feel for the subject during the application and interview process, and everything else will flow from there.

As for Sam’s five year plans, engineering leadership is definitely in his future. He’s passionate about the 3D printing industry and hopes to set up his own business within that sector. But regardless of where he ends up, Sam is confident that the skills learnt during his time with SELA, and as a Engineering Leader scholar, will serve him well into the next five years and beyond.

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