Sameeha Dakri

My passion for Computer Engineering first sparked when I attended the Cyber First Adventures course with NCSC. This was my first introduction to networks and protecting data. I learnt how to solve complex problems and create simple solutions, which gave me a fulfilling sense of achievement. I continued to attend the Cyber First Defenders and Futures course which enhanced my knowledge and challenged me to think logically and analytically. After receiving an email from the Smallpiece trust regarding the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship I was interested and keen to apply and reach my potential as a future engineer. I decided to be the first student at my school to apply and remove all barriers to inspire the younger generations at my school.

 How did you feel when you found out you had been awarded a Scholarship? 

I felt proud and words couldn’t describe how I felt receiving the phone call from my teacher, it was a long process, and trying to apply during COVID-19 was difficult. Especially being the first student in my school to have applied and achieved this scholarship I didn’t have much guidance and I finally felt like all my hard work and effort paid off. My sponsor was The Charles S French Charitable Trust and I remember speaking to her on the day I received my scholarship to thank her as well as ask her for guidance in the future. She was proud of me and couldn’t wait to see how I flourished during the next 2 years of my scholarship.

What did you gain from your Arkwright Scholarship? Any stand-out experiences? Did it open any doors for you?

 The Arkwright Engineering Scholarship has undeniably made me stand out in the crowd and opened plenty of doors for me, including multiple work experiences, STEM programmes and many leadership roles. Since receiving the scholarship, I have undertaken work experience at Deloitte where I learnt and implemented asymmetric cryptography to encrypt and decrypt messages. I also used immersive labs and python to stimulate an attack on a network to discover its vulnerabilities. My second work placement was HS1 reviewing and researching chat bot providers. This is a form of artificial intelligence and natural language processing to recognise key words and interpret messages using heuristics.

In addition, I have also been accepted onto a 6-month STEM upskills program where I will meet likeminded students and be working with partnering companies like Google and Dyson. I have also taken part in the STEM Scholars programme run by Oxford University where I worked closely with a PhD tutor to develop written communication skills and used Harvard referencing. I received a 2:1 in the dissertation and ranked first in my school.

Plenty more doors opened themselves where I can proudly say I am the Head Girl at my school and because this scholarship has inspired me so much, I have further created a STEM initiative where I work with the lower school students particularly year 11 to get them onto the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship and guide them to other courses and opportunities available.

Aside from the opportunities this scholarship has provided me I have learnt and developed as a person. I have had interview practise, worked with strangers on projects, acted professionally with senior members of firms and developed many transferable skills that will make me more employable and increase my chances of achieving my dreams.

How would you describe your Mentor?

My mentor is reliable, kind and an inspiration. She is a software Engineer at BAE Systems and has provided me work experience and guidance when writing my CV and Personal Statement. I completed monthly projects with her to enhance my engineering knowledge and my favourite research task was around the Mars Perseverance Rover and how robotics can benefit human exploration by testing soil, rocks and weather on Mars. I particularly enjoy having someone I can ask for advice from and hear their journey, so I do not feel so alone.

What are your plans for the future?

I am hoping to study computer science with a year in industry at a Russel Group university in London, through a paid degree apprenticeship so I can learn and work simultaneously. This will be an amazing opportunity to use my talents in the real world and gain experience from an early point in my career. I would love to be involved in a STEM programme to encourage and support young students the same way that I was inspired to reach my potential. I am interested in multiple aspects of computer science, and I hope that whatever challenges I am faced with I can tackle them and grow to be better in the future.

What would your advice be to any students thinking of applying?

The advice that I would give to a student thinking of applying is simply to go for it. Do not hesitate and think of the negative possibilities, instead try your hardest and apply yourself in whatever aspect you feel most confident in. Recognise your strengths and use them to your advantage, as well as having a clear goal so that you can focus and be enthusiastic. Remember nothing in the world is worth doing without hardship and the skills and friends you make along the way will all be worth it and beyond compare.


Arkwright Scholar 2021

The Charles S French Charitable Trust

Maths, Computer Science, Economics

Technology Consultant in Digital and Emerging Tech