Design Manufacturing & Engineering ManagementHanna Lilja Jonasdottir

Hanna arrived at Strathclyde in September 2014 to study an MSc in Mechatronics & Automation. Find out more about her thoughts on life at Strathclyde.

Tell us a little about your background prior to coming to study with DMEM:

I did my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Iceland and graduated in the spring of 2014 while working part-time for a prosthetic company. During the first few years I worked in manufacturing assembling bionic knees and later in the Research & Development department participating in the design of prosthetic knees.

Why did you choose to study at DMEM?

The company I used to work for had connections with the University of Strathclyde so I was aware of the good reputation the university held. 

Where are you currently working and what does this involve?

I am currently doing a PhD at DMEM with the same supervisor as I did my Master’s project with. We are working on a project which focuses on robotics technology used in hot forming processes, working in association with the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC). 

How did studying with DMEM provide you with opportunities to begin or further your career?

I realised while I was working on my dissertation that I might enjoy a career in research so I continued the work I was doing during the Master’s programme by undertaking a full time PhD.

Thinking back to your MSc experience, would you do anything differently?

I don’t think so. I managed to focus on my studies and get decent marks while making lifelong friends and exploring a new city. 

Have you faced or overcome any challenges or obstacles in the pursuit of your studies and/or career?

What I would most likely consider the biggest challenge during my studies was leaving the only country I’d ever lived in and being overwhelmed by the sheer diversity of opinions and backgrounds. Ironically, although that was the biggest challenge for me personally, I also believe that it was a phenomenal opportunity for personal growth. Additionally the dissertation was quite challenging as I had never dealt with a project of that scale, however with a bit of hard work and a few late nights I was able to finish on time with a dissertation I was proud of.

What has been the highlight of your studies to date?

I have been fortunate enough to work in an environment which is full of talented people with novel ideas. I also had the opportunity to learn how to programme industrial robots. That was a useful learning experience and a skill that I will be able to use while working on my own project.

What advice would you give to a current DMEM student?

I would advise them to work on their dissertation from the beginning, be organised and not to be afraid of asking questions. Students should also put away time for non-study related activities, whether that is sport, reading or going out with friends. Last but not least (for you international students), absorb as much of the Scottish culture as possible, eat some haggis, travel to the Highlands and learn Scottish phrases. Enjoy the time while you have it, it goes by quicker than you expect!

My greatest success till now is finishing my Master’s degree. My Master’s journey was challenging in many different ways. I moved from home to a different country, had to overcome a great fear of speaking English and climb the big mountain that is the dissertation. DMEM provided support throughout the year, both the department itself and individuals in the department.


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