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Women in Science, Engineering and Technology

Jenna Cole

Jenna Cole




Professional biography

Growing up I always had an interest in design and enjoyed being 'creative'. I was particularly interested in interior design, however, as I got older, this interest developed into a passion for architecture.

At school I had an aptitude for mathematics and found logical and systematic thinking highly rewarding. Having spoken to a careers advisor, I felt I could best put my abilities to use by training to become a structural engineer. I took physics, maths and theatre studies A levels and graphic design to AS level. Throughout my A level career I learnt to direct my thinking and ask questions and became quite disciplined when it came to studying.

I was accepted in to the University of Manchester in 2004 on the structural engineering with architecture course. At first I felt nervous - as I am sure everyone else did at that point - but my confidence grew over the years enabling me to take a number of opportunities offered to me to develop my skills further.

In my second year I became involved with widening participation - schemes aimed at increasing intake into the University. I developed a relationship with Whalley Range High School and began reading and doing maths with some of the girls there who were struggling. I also became involved with the civil engineering PASS (peer assisted study) scheme, first acting as a PASS leader and later becoming a student coordinator for the scheme. I have also had an involvement with the WiSET scheme for two years during which I have had the opportunity to meet and work with a range of inspirational people.

My involvement with these schemes has further increased my confidence and helped me develop other transferable skills such as time organisation and communication. I graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class degree in 2008 and currently work for the engineering consultancy part of Amey; in particular working with bridges and railways.

I have plans to take a gap year as from August 2008 during which I will travel to New Zealand, Australia, south east Asia, India and China. As for the future, who knows what it may hold, but I have dreams to use my engineering skills working in international development.