Sheona Day MPhys Physics with Industrial Placement, 2018
Research Engineer; Gill Research & Development
Sheona’s industrial placement was at Gill Research & Development, an electronics, software and product customisation organisation.
My placement was a great opportunity to experience working in a research and development company. I was offered a position after I graduated and now work as a Research Engineer; I’m currently working on developing a new range of optics products.
Choosing to study physics at Southampton
The University of Southampton is part of the Russell Group, so I knew that the course and academics would have close links to research. The Physics and Astronomy department has a good reputation, which it lived up to when I visited the University. I also liked the green campus which was important to me. I was excited to make new friends and be in a new city!
Physics is a brilliant subject to choose as not only do you gain a deep understanding of the subject matter but are taught so many transferable skills including problem solving, good mathematical and coding abilities as well as report writing and presentation skills.
Settling in to University life
The level of support in my first year was great. The department has a parent scheme to help you settle in and meet people in different year groups. There is lots of academic help provided through problem classes, drop-in sessions and a weekly meeting with your personal tutor who is your point of contact throughout the whole degree.
Campus is like a mini city; it has everything you need from study facilities to pubs and restaurants. This means that the university feels like a community. Southampton is a very busy, student-orientated city that doesn’t feel too big or too small. It’s a good place to be based for student life.
My industrial placement at Gill Research and Development
I started working at Gill Research and Development with a SEPnet placement that was extended to a 6-month industrial placement as part of my MPhys Physics with Industrial Placement degree.
A typical day would start with a short team meeting covering our aims for the day – this was also an opportunity to discuss any technical issues that you might need help with. The rest of the day was spent on my project within the research innovation group. Some days could involve literature reviews, modelling, running simulations or report writing, while other days were more hands-on including design and construction work or testing of the product.
The placement was a great opportunity to experience working in a research and development company, and also provided me with a great topic for my Masters report. I developed my coding and modelling skills and also gained a deeper understanding of the physics involved in my project while at Gill R&D. I was offered a position after I graduated and now work as a Research Engineer; I'm currently working on developing a new range of optics products.
There are opportunities in the third and fourth year to use the first-class research facilities which I definitely took advantage of. The everyday teaching labs are of a really high standard. Also the physics department has its own study space that I use as a second home during exam periods. I didn’t use the library as much as I could have and that’s due to the great online resources the university has.
Playing with the Southampton University Concert Band
I was part of Southampton University Concert band since first year and in my final year I was on the committee. Some of the highlights of my time at University have definitely been with the band. The European tour each year is always amazing and playing in different locations in front of an international audience with an incredibly talented band has been very memorable.