Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson

United Kingdom
MEng Mechanical Engineering

I was living in Windsor with my parents before moving to Swansea to study Mechanical Engineering. When I visited for an applicants day it was a very informative session, but also one of the most beautiful days of the year – the town was busy, the beach was gorgeous. Swansea really felt like a place I could move and feel comfortable in very quickly.

Do you remember what first sparked your interest in mechanical engineering?

I have always been interested in Maths and Physics and was looking for a practical way to apply those skills that would hopefully develop into a successful career path. Engineering kept cropping up, and specifically Mechanical Engineering suited the way I felt my mind worked – very problem-solving driven.

Looking back, what were some of your favourite classes, and why?

I loved any practical classes, and the one that has stuck with me for years was the Glider Project. A group of us were tasked with designing, building, and flying a Glider to safely hold an egg without breaking. We had to think about materials, manufacture, and even a Business Plan. Brought together so many elements of Engineering that are relevant post-graduation.

Your Year in Industry must have been an exciting experience. Can you share some key takeaways from that period and how it influenced your decision to work in the aviation sector?

My Year in Industry gave me the opportunity to learn some incredibly important skills that are challenging to get in classrooms. I had to deliver results to very strict production schedules, balancing daily tasks against long-term projects. Seeing the way many different teams collaborate to achieve the same goal really gave me an important perspective on industry team-work. I felt a lot of value from my Internship, but most particularly the company GE Aerospace. The whole experience inspired me to continue working for the company, so I successfully applied for the Graduate Scheme and have stayed in Aviation ever since!

What other experiential learning opportunities did you take on as a student?

I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend Swansea University’s Zambia Expedition – an outreach program where we were challenged to construct a playground for an orphanage, and support a hospital wherever something needed fixing. We explored real-world engineering challenges, putting our knowledge to practical tasks, and helped communities less fortunate than our own. Additionally, during my first few years at Swansea University I was involved in Formula Student. This exposure was incredible, as I was able to design components that would eventually be manufactured and assembled to a race-worthy car.

Would you say your time at Swansea University prepared you for the professional world?

Absolutely! In particular, Swansea University has an excellent Employability Academy – very supportive and knowledgeable on what Industries are looking for in Interns / Graduates. I participated in a mock assessment centre run by the employability team, which I can give lots of credit to for preparing me for successful interviews, as well as job roles.