Grace Madden, alumnus

Graduated with Mathematics MSci in 2017

Current role

Graduate Engineer at Spirax Sarco Engineering plc


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after finishing university but knew that I had really enjoyed fluid dynamics and applied mathematics. When investigating graduate schemes, I was drawn to the more practical roles and gained a place at an engineering group.

My favourite part of my job is the variety and the exposure to a wide network of people. The scheme is fantastic because you get to complete four 6-month placements in different positions around the group. I’ve had the opportunity to move to Sweden for six months and am now based in Falmouth.

Every day is different but at the moment a typical day would involve checking on my research tests running in our tubing test lab, measuring flowrates and checking the deterioration in tube material. I’ll analyse data which can then be used to demonstrate results in the next stakeholder meeting. I also keep up to date with research in the non-destructive testing and structural health monitoring areas.

Usually, I will have one or two meetings; outlining progress against the project timeline, analysing risks or outlining the budget. I might have a call with an external company to discuss testing facilities or feasibility of new technologies that could be applied to my project.

Once a week, I will speak to other graduates; there are international graduates visiting the UK for six months from our other sites around the world and there’s always an event, STEM activity or factory tour to organise!

The analytical skills you pick up as part of a maths degree are essential in this job. Knowledge in areas such as applied differential equations and advanced fluid dynamics was also useful, and my fourth-year project on solar cells gave me an insight into research, which currently forms an element of the placement I am completing in the Design and Engineering department of Watson Marlow Ltd.  

What would I say to current students? Get involved! I think the thing that secured my job were the skills I picked up during university alongside my degree. The ability to show you have real world experience and a hands-on attitude is essential: volunteer, find out what research is going on at the university, get involved in a society committee, get a part-time job etc.

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