School: Bradford Girls' Grammar School (until 2010) Sixth Form: Welbeck, Defense Sixth Form College (2010-2012). University: University of Southampton (2012-2015 and 2016-2017), Imperial College London (2018-present)
GCSEs, A levels, BEng Aeronautics and Astronautics, MSc Biomedical Engineering
University of Southampton, Imperial College London
I'm Shruti, I'm 24 and I love the Harry Potter books.
My name is Shruti and I am 24 years old. I live in London, which is also where I work, but originally I am from Yorkshire. If you’re not sure where I am, you can find me with my headphones in listening to Harry Potter.
I think my favourite film ever is Disney’s Mulan (if you haven’t seen it, you really should!) and it has been my favourite film since I was about 6. My favourite snack is cheese and biscuits and my favourite drink is tea.
I love food and spending time with my friends. In my spare time I like to keep fit and healthy, and to travel when I can.
I'm in my second year of my PhD, which means I'm at university researching into a topic that is really interesting to me. I'm researching into artificial limbs for people who have lost their legs, known as prosthetics.
I spend my time researching into an area that’s really interesting to me: developing artificial legs for people who have lost theirs perhaps through illness or in the military. There are lots of really cool legs out there, some for skiing or sailing and other with computer controlled joints. My work is focused on making sure that people have the most comfortable legs possible so they can get up and about walk, skiing or doing whatever else they want!
My Typical Day
Each day is different: sometimes I'm reading papers to learn more, some days I'm computer programming, some days I'm writing papers to be published and other days I am teaching or recording a podcast.
When you do a PhD, there’s lots to keep you busy! The great thing about a PhD is that what you do with your days is decided by you. I have a supervisor to help guide me, but I don’t have a manager who gives me tasks to do every day. If I’m particularly tired one day, I can decide not to come into work until lunchtime, but if I’m really motivated on the weekend I can do some work then to get ahead. It’s all very flexible.
Generally, I like to get into the office for about 8am (because if I start early, I can finish early!) The first thing I do is sort my emails and see if there’s anything interesting or that needs my attention. Then I will start on my work.
As an engineer, there are lots of different things I need to be able to do to complete my research. There is the science and maths side of things to design solutions to make artificial legs more comfortable, but also I have to be able to write and give presentations so I can tell people about my work. I do a lot of programming too as I am writing a web application for people to use to help make artificial legs more comfortable.
I like to teach as well, so I teach both maths and programming to other students studying for their degrees in medicine and engineering. This doesn’t take too long, only a few hours a week so it is a nice break from my desk work.
What I'd do with the money
I would buy some better equipment to improve the podcast I have started with my friend and I would develop a few workshops so we can go in to schools and share the different ways engineering and science are important for some research we do.
Last year, I started a podcast with my friend, another PhD student, where we talk about the research in the department: everything from amputations and artificial limbs, to how injured soldiers get saved and brought home. I would like to buy some better equipment so that the quality of the podcasts is better and we can reach a wider audience by paying for a site to host our podcast. You can listen to the first few episodes here.
With the rest of the money, I would develop some workshops so we can go into schools and show how important all the subjects are in the research we do. In our team we have doctors, surgeons, engineers, scientists, physiotherapists and historians! We work together to make sure we can help as many people as possible. There’s something for everything, but you might not realise it. I want to design a fun way to get more and more people interested in the different things they can do!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Fun, hardworking, quirky.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Worked with soldiers who have lost their legs to help them walk without pain.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I saw lots of problems in everyday life and I wanted to fix them.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Design and Technology
What did you want to be after you left school?
An Officer in the Royal Air Force
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I'd work for a charity or non-profit organisation to tackle some of the big global problems e.g. climate change or poverty
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Red Hot Chili Peppers
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish I could paint (as I have no artistic ability!), I wish I could do a handstand and I wish my friends lived closer to me.
Tell us a joke.
Why didn't the skeleton go to the disco? Because they had no BODY to dance with.