Twenty-three year old Adam Day knew he wanted to be an engineer – just like his dad and older brother.
Yet it took an article in a magazine to set him on the course that has now seen him graduate with a First Class Honours Degree in Engineering – the BEng Medical Engineering – from Swansea University’s School of Engineering today.
Adam, from Stanford-Le-Hope in Essex, first attended St Clere’s School and then completed his BTEC National Diploma at Thurrock and Basildon College.
For him, a career as an engineer seemed logical – his dad, Derek is an electrical engineer at Network Rail, his middle brother Barry completed his apprenticeship with London Underground to become a mechanical engineer, and his eldest brother Robert works in IT for the NHS.
Adam told Welsh Icon News that “At college, I found myself torn between completing my BTEC and doing my A-Levels in Science and Biology at the college across the road,” he said.
“Once I finished, I felt stuck and I remember one day reading an article in a magazine my dad brought home about the way chemical and biological engineers are changing the way we heal.
“It was at that moment that I knew this is what I wanted to do, but finding a suitable degree course at that point in time was not easy.”
Adam subsequently approached UCAS and he enrolled for a biological and chemical process course, which was integrated with a foundation year at Swansea University.
“My college grades were not as strong as I’d hoped, but I knew the Swansea University course would help me gain the right grounding,” he added.
“After completing my foundation year, I had to take time off university as the Medical Engineering course did not start until a year later. I took the opportunity to better my college grades and enrolled at Swansea College to do three AS-levels in Maths, Biology, and English.
“The year at college really made a difference. My first year’s average was 69% and it kept improving. I knew I had finally discovered the type of engineering that would see me follow in my family’s footsteps – just with a slightly different angle.”
In recognition of his achievements, Adam will also be awarded a prize certificate for best overall performance.
Dr Chris Wright, Course Director for Medical Engineering in Swansea University’s School of Engineering, said: “Adam, who is amongst the first cohort to graduate with the MEng in Medical Engineering, has clearly demonstrated that with the right approach and passion, you can realise your dreams. I am delighted with his achievements – something I am sure I share with his family and I wish him every success for the future.
“Medical engineering is the application of engineering principles to both the human body itself and to a broad range of instrumentation used as part of modern medicine. The Scheme at Swansea builds on the strengths of both the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine.
“The subject, by its nature, is multi-disciplinary and this is reflected by the exposure students will receive to a broad range of activities; from the design of prosthetic devices and new biocompatible materials, to the study of the behaviour of complex bio-molecules and fluids with the body.”
Adam is now considering whether to apply for a placement, get a full-time job, or return to university to study further.
He said: “I really enjoyed doing my project on quantum dots with Professor Huw Summers. The application of nanotechnology in medicine and engineering is fascinating and I am keen to know more.
“The best thing about the degree is that you have so many choices – something that would have seemed difficult for me to believe when I first left college.”
Adam’s dad and brothers will be accompanyed him to his Graduation ceremony, while mum Sandra will be watching the live streaming from home, while recovering from an operation.
“I know I am the first in my family to graduate from University, but it may not be the last time. Mum will have front row seats next time, that’s for sure,” he added.