Nnaemeka Anyamele, Undergraduate, Aeronautics 

“I’ve worked on the improvement and development parts of wind tunnel systems, and built and launched rockets”

I am a young adult who still looks up at the slightest sound of an aircraft, and gazes at them as they cross the sky. I like to think most people find it at least a little bit cool that these objects, which weigh hundreds of tonnes each, are able to gracefully float for hours non-stop at speeds just shy of the speed of sound. This really is an amazement that has stuck with me from a very young age – so studying Aeronautical Engineering was the obvious way to go! 

The course is a fun but hefty challenge! You learn in significant depth the interesting maths and theory behind breakthroughs in knowledge that have paved the way for various developments throughout aviation history. That being said, once you start the degree you realise that there is more to aeronautics than just planes. 

Since I started at Imperial, I’ve worked on the improvement and development parts of wind tunnel systems, built and launched rockets (with Imperial College London Rocketry), and have recently been exploring the aerodynamics of rotating deployable heat shields to facilitate the safe re-entry and return of spacecraft. None of these are directly related to planes, but the skills and knowledge-base that the degree has equipped me with have enabled me to accomplish a great deal on these extra-curricular projects.  

It goes without saying that the pandemic has not made anything easy for us. Building a whole rocket isn’t something that you can really do remotely or in a tiny group of students because of workshop restrictions. Fortunately, we were still able to build it in time for the European Rocketry Challenge, a rocketry competition held in mid-October in Portugal. 

While the degree has a particular focus on aircraft applications, it also sets you up to do well in a huge range of other opportunities. I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty with experiments and exploration in the future, be it through further aerodynamics research or working in the development and building of aircraft and spacecraft. 

Outside of aeronautics I enjoy participating in other activities such singing in the Imperial College Choir and editing the Guildsheet, the student publication for the City and Guilds College Union.  

I have also found much joy in outreach work. I frequently go back to my secondary school to give talks about engineering and my time at university, and have been a Student Ambassador at Imperial for just under a year. Helping and inspiring younger school students to aim high and aspire to be the best version of themselves, similar to how I had been inspired growing up, really is a beautiful experience.

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