Gladys Schnier

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Gladys Schnier joined the Weir Advanced Research Centre (WARC) in October 2011 – deciding to continue her studies at Strathclyde after graduating in Mechanical Engineering with International Study. Fulfilling her ambition of embarking on a career in engineering, Gladys wanted an opportunity to work on an industrially related PhD and WARC has given her the chance to do just that.

“I have always had a keen interest in engineering and my wish to study at Strathclyde was cemented in my sixth year at high school when I went to the Johnson Space Center in Houston as part of the Scottish Space School. It gave me the drive to get started with my academic studies in this field and at that time I had my heart set on the practical elements of engineering rather than the theoretical aspect of much of the research.

Gladys Schnier“My desire to get properly involved in the field of engineering has never left me, I don’t want to sit in a lab or workshop – I want to work with industry on projects that have relevance in the real world. I hadn’t really considered staying on after I finished my degree but an academic supervisor suggested the possibility of joining WARC to study a PhD. The opportunity ticked a lot of boxes for me in terms of working on real life problems and being able to understand the challenges being faced in the sector. 

“My PhD topic is looking at the development and validation of a fatigue resistant cladding technology. Basically, in the oil and gas sector, pumps cost an incredible amount of money and often they fail after little time in operation. My research is aimed at making these pumps last longer – hopefully also saving the industry money in replacing these pumps less frequently.

“I am really enjoying working within WARC and the experience I am gaining is way beyond what I expected. A real benefit is the continual two-way dialogue and the engagement with engineers at the Weir Group. The highlight so far has been a two week trip to South Africa – a unique experience and one that is continuing to benefit my studies.

“Having submitted an abstract for a conference in Cape Town I spoke with my academic supervisor and WARC management and very quickly I was able to set up a visit to the Weir Group offices in Johannesburg to coincide with my conference. With funding through WARC I was able to spend a longer period of time in the country – including 3 days in the offices with a tour of the plant, manufacturing and testing facilities. This was a really valuable experience and let me see how the business operates, building on my knowledge base and giving me the platform to continue my own research.

“While the Weir Group business in South Africa is mainly focussed on minerals, there were many overlaps with my research and I have established really good contacts following my visit. I would like to build on this experience and I am keen to visit the US and work with the oil and gas division of the Weir Group over there. 

“The experience of visiting South Africa and knowing that the potential is there to visit the US are just an example of the benefits of working on a PhD at WARC. I have been allocated a product champion with the Weir Group – giving me direct contact whenever I need it. I really do feel like I am making difference with my PhD subject and the close working relationship with such a major company in the field of engineering is invaluable.

“As I continue to develop the foundations for what I hope will be a long career in engineering – the experience and knowledge I am gaining through WARC is giving me a real advantage and giving me the best possible opportunities to be successful in the field.”