Thomas Irish

I first learned about engineering in year 10 when my resistant materials teacher introduced me to the Arkwright Engineering scholarship. I mentioned it to my parents, my father who works as a electronic engineer and my mother who is a nurse encouraged me to pursue the opportunity.

During my time as an Arkwright Scholar, I realised I wanted to become a medical engineer. I wanted to combine my Mother and Father’s vocations and solve problems within the medical field, specifically designing and manufacturing prosthetics, implants or other tools that may help someone tackle the day in an easier way than before. 

How did you use your Scholarship funding? 

I was interested in 3D modelling via fusion 360, so I purchased a 3D printer and some PLA/PET-G filament; I also purchased parts for an RC drone.

However, the best use of my bursary was paying for travel to attend the trips provided by the scholarship. I attended 2 RAF trips, a DePuy Synthes trip amongst many others. The trips were a great opportunity to network, learn, but most of all, have fun. This really helped me develop teamwork, leadership and social skills alongside making me the most confident and happy version of myself.

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

I gained so much from my scholarship: reliable connections in the engineering industry, and life-changing learning experiences from the trips and connect days. During my trips with the RAF, I learnt valuable lessons regarding teamwork and leadership that I will take with me through my working career. I also learnt how underappreciated state school students are when it comes to achieving opportunities such as this scholarship.

I always felt, as a state school student, the scholarship was mostly taken upon by private school students. I am delighted to hear that it is now being marketed more towards state-school students who otherwise may not have these opportunities. I have often returned to my old school to advertise the scholarship to prospective students and help in any way possible to give them the best chance of reaching their potential.

Since applying for Arkwright, I have gained an interest for a constantly developing industry that I can never shake. My engineering skills since enrolling have improved and it has made me more curious than ever at how the world operates. 

Where are you studying now, what subject, and how you are finding it so far?

I am studying Medical Engineering at the University of Leeds. I have recently finished my second year and I am looking for summer internships before starting my 3rd year. The scholarship has taught and encouraged me to always aim higher and improve in everything I do.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Leeds. I have been studying mandatory-only modules through years one and two so I am looking forward to specialising in key fields in my final few years.

Outside of studying, the confidence I gained from Arkwright has translated into finding many hobbies and sports I thoroughly enjoy that I never would’ve found without it.

Any advice to current Scholars and / or students thinking of applying to Arkwright?

Use all of the bursary. It is there to help inspire you to learn or explore projects you never thought you could.

Please apply, especially if you are attending a state funded school. This scholarship was created to help inspire prospective problem solvers regardless of their background and the process is a useful experience even if you aren’t accepted.

The scholarship has allowed me to become the best engineering student I can be. It has helped me gained confidence and become more independent.

What are your plans for the future? What career path are you hoping to pursue?

I am striving to become a design and manufacturing engineer within the prosthetics/implants industry. I will try to achieve this applying for a year in industry at DePuy Synthes to get my foot in the door. I am also looking for summer internships regarding medical engineering.

Arkwright Scholar 2018 - 2020

DS Smith

Maths, Physics, Computing

Medical Engineering, University of Leeds

Student, University of Leeds