Ashlee Espinoza, from California, is currently undertaking a PhD in Composite Materials at Strathclyde and is one of our student ambassadors.
What University did you study your undergraduate degree?
California State University, Long Beach
How did you first hear about Strathclyde?
By searching online for MSc programmes for mechanical engineering in the UK, specifically reviewing ongoing research work in the area of composite materials
Why did you choose to study at Strathclyde?
When looking for a uni in the UK to attend I wanted the programme to provide classes and research opportunities aligned with my interests. I looked at the work being published by researchers at Strathclyde and the types of classes I could take during my MSc. Just as important to me was living in a city that was affordable as a student and had an active arts and culture scene. I found all of the above in Strathclyde and Glasgow!
What do you like about studying at Strathclyde?
I like the focus on real-world applications. It is rare in the classes I took or in conversation with other researchers that a topic comes up that doesn’t have an impact on industry or how we live our lives.
What else do you like about Strathclyde?
My interactions with the faculty have all been great. If I need help I feel there are a lot of resources for students. It’s hard to be so far away from home, but knowing that there is support at the university helps with that anxiety.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I work in ceramics (as a hobby). I was lucky enough to find a studio to work in on the weekends. I also love going to the cinema, seeing live bands and enjoying nice meals with my friends.
What funding opportunities (if any) were available to you?
I applied for the Mackenzie Scholarship to help with my MSc studies and received it. My PhD is funded by industry.
How did these help you with your studies?
To receive financial help was very important to me as I went from being employed full time to studying full time. I managed to save money for this period of unemployment, but it was not enough for things like travel back to America to see my family or much else besides food and rent. The scholarships helped immensely to make life as a student easier.
What do you think about Scotland/Glasgow?
I absolutely love the city and the country. Coming from such a large metropolitan area as LA I enjoy how green and open the country just outside Glasgow is. When I get a chance I take the train, bus, or convince a friend to drive me out to the highlands for hillwalking and fresh air. Most of the time I enjoy life in the city. Glasgow always has something going on so it’s hard to get bored, but every once in a while it’s nice to have a break and Glasgow is very close to some of the most gorgeous scenery.
Would you recommend Strathclyde to other people and why?
Yes, I would definitely recommend Strathclyde. The quality of the education is fantastic and there are so many opportunities to apply your work, collaborate with industry and feel like you’re helping to create change.