Growing up, I lived in Sri Lanka and the UK, then settled in Manchester to do my GCSEs. I loved maths and wanted a job that would help people, and decided to be an engineer. Now I work as a Civil Engineer, keeping people safe from flooding.
I didn’t know much about engineering growing up and was thinking about studying medicine like my parents. I started thinking about engineering when I was 16 after I took part in the EDT Headstart scheme where I got to visit a university and take part in taster courses. A school trip to CERN, a large European scientific research centre, made me realise that engineering can help with great scientific discoveries.
I decided to study engineering because I liked the idea of what engineering could achieve. I went to the University of Cambridge and studied Civil and Environmental Engineering where my classes covered all sorts of topics. While at university I volunteered with Engineers Without Borders UK. I learnt about engineers working in developing countries and how they help people access clean water and improve health with safe sanitation and drains, among many other things! I realised this was how I wanted to use my engineering because I could see the impact that engineering had on people’s lives.
I have worked with charities on projects around the world. In South America, I improved the design of temporary housing in favelas so that houses could be built safely and quickly by small groups of people. In Kenya, I worked to make sure that communities in Kibera, an urban slum, had safe, well drained public spaces.
I am now a Civil Engineer in the water engineering team at Arup, where I work on projects to keep people safe from flooding. I design drainage systems and work with other experts to manage flood risk to communities. I work with nature, from rivers and lakes, to trees to manage rainwater in storms. I work to make sure my designs are sustainable, with minimal negative impact on the environment. My work keeps people and houses dry and safe after large storms.
I love that my work has value to people and that I have an impact on the world.