£10,000 for Rising Star student

Fourth-year MEng Electrical & Mechanical Engineering with International Study student Marnie McKay at Marina Bay, Singapore.

A fourth-year Engineering student at the University of Strathclyde has won a £10,000 Rising Star award.

The award was presented to Marnie McKay by the John Mather Trust to help her achieve her educational goals for the benefit of the wider public. 

The John Mather Trust have supported scholarships at the University of Strathclyde since 1997. In addition to the Rising Star award, the Trust also funds undergraduate scholarships for widening access and a hardship fund

Marnie, from Falkirk, is studying for a MEng Electrical & Mechanical Engineering with International Study after being inspired by participation in the Scottish Space School, run by Strathclyde, which saw her travel to Houston, Texas in 2013.

Marnie’s ambition is to develop a career in the power and energy sector, working on and innovating future power energy systems.

She has developed a two-year plan to gain the necessary expertise to achieve her goals which the award will help to fulfil.

Marnie was nominated by the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering.

Academic performance

Dr Richard O’Leary, Course Director on the MEng Electrical & Electronic Engineering programme, said: “She is academically very talented – a meticulous multidisciplinary engineer, with the technical abilities and personal qualities to excel. That she secured one of the highly competitive international study places to spend year 4 at the world renowned institution, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore is entirely to her credit.”

Amongst the achievements which helped the award judges decide included Marnie’s exceptional academic performance having passed every class at a level significantly above the Distinction threshold.

She is currently studying for a year in Singapore at Nanyang Technology University as part of her course.

It is not just her own progress Marnie is focused on – she is a STEM ambassador, visiting local schools to promote awareness of engineering, mentors school pupils to identify and overcome barriers to Higher Education, supports delivery of individual activities within outreach programmes and provides voluntary Physics tuition to pupils in her home town.

She holds an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and chaired the scholars committee. She is one of the IET’s Young Professionals Community Council and delivered a speech in front of HRH Princess Anne at the opening of the Institution’s London headquarters. She also holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders Scholarship.

Marnie said: “I am absolutely over the moon, and still in shock! I feel quite emotional that Strathclyde University and The Trustees of The John Mather Charitable Trust believe in my potential.

I am an ambitious person, driven to push the boundaries of engineering through global collaboration and a career in future power or energy innovation.

“I am focused on harnessing my full academic, professional and personal potential and this award will help me achieve my goals by helping to fund professional qualifications, international study and attending learning and development events.”

Marnie has secured internships with Atkins which will result in her joining the company upon graduation and she is an active student member of several professional bodies, including the Institution of Engineering & Technology, Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Women in Science & Engineering.

She said: “I have relished summer placements within the Power Sector of Atkins and have been inspired at Energy-related conferences, including the recent IET’s Renewable Energies Conference in Wuhan, China.  Networking with Engineers has sparked particular interest in the need for alternative methods of energy production and importantly, innovation.”