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Posted on: July 18th 2017

Summer School Experience - Catherine Elmslie - Yr12

My recent experience on an Engineering course at the University of Cambridge was a very positive one.  I stayed in Homerton College for the week and most of the social activities happened there, although we also visited other colleges including King’s, Peterhouse, Pembroke and Churchill throughout the week.

Along with the other participants, I was treated like a typical undergraduate for the week, attending lectures every morning followed by a practical laboratory session, based on the topics studied during our lectures.  A big project that we all worked on in small groups was a LEGO Mindstorm robot design challenge, where we had to create and program a robot using LEGO to follow a path and to pickup and drop off objects at different points along the route.

Afternoon activities were focused around finding out more about engineering in general and further areas of research at the University.  We attended a guided tour of three of the University’s research facilities; the Whittle Laboratory, the Schofield Centre and CAPE (the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics) where we witnessed a jet engine’s compressor in action, saw how different soil types affected the foundations and structures of buildings and observed the conditions required for creating 10,000, 1,000 and 100 clean rooms, where projects of microscopic and nano scales are undertaken.  

In the evenings, we attended seminars and talks by current undergraduates at the University and postgraduates on related topics, including how nature inspires engineering.  We also had plenty of opportunities to ask the undergraduates about all aspects of their courses and their experiences in applying to Cambridge.  

I really enjoyed the week at Cambridge University and I would encourage anyone who wants to find out more about a particular degree course or who wants to have a taste of university life, to consider applying to a summer school.  Like me, you can expect to gain a great first-hand idea of what to expect as an undergraduate at university.

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