Winter Graduation Stories 2019: Nancy Chen (MSc Electrical Power Engineering)

Name: Nancy (Ziqing) Chen

Programme: MSc Electrical Power Engineering

Hometown: Shenyang, China

Why did you choose to study your MSc programme at the University of Edinburgh?

The University of Edinburgh is renowned for providing a world-leading education and has therefore always been my first choice. 

I chose the MSc Electrical Power Engineering because it equips students with wide-ranging skills, from direct current (DC) transmission systems to renewable energy systems, providing a strong academic preparation for a career in industry. The Programme is not only focused on the taught element but also has group and self-design projects, so offers a really comprehensive education. 

In addition, I did my undergraduate degree (BEng Electronics and Electrical Engineering) at Edinburgh, and so wanted to continue my education here to gain an advanced understanding of cutting-edge technology in the power engineering industry.

How would you explain your MSc topic - electrical power engineering - to a non-expert?

Instead of using specialist terminologies, I would describe electrical power engineering as being about how to generate and transfer electricity from different sources (such as machines, the sun or the wind) in the most efficient way. 

One consideration is whether to use alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) depending on different situations and factors, for example.

What aspects of the Programme have you enjoyed most?

The summer research dissertation left a particularly strong impression on me as it gave me the chance to apply the knowledge I learned in class to a real-world project.

My dissertation topic focused on the characteristics of photovoltaic (PV) cells, exploring what factors affect the ability of these solar cells to generate electricity.

This three-month project helped me to develop my research and innovation management technique and really inspired me about my own potential.

Outside of your studies, what were your highlights of being a student at Edinburgh? 

I'm definitely the right person to ask about this because I participated in a lot of University activities! 

I was a student ambassador at Open Days, worked as an IT helper for the University, and joined the Tandem Language Programme – an Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) society promoting intercultural exchange through language cafes. 

These activities helped me to make good friends, maintain a healthy social life and gain some work experience. They also built my international awareness since there are students from so many different parts of the world at Edinburgh. Those experiences definitely broadened my horizons. 

Is there anything that the School has done to help you to make the most of your time here at Edinburgh? 

As a student, I really appreciated the academic support from the University and I'd like to mention my supervisor Dr Aristides Kiprakis in particular. 

During the process of study, whenever I encountered difficulties, he was always there to offer help. As he was very friendly, I was never worried or ashamed to ask questions even though some of them seem simple!

What do you plan to do next? Has your time at Edinburgh helped to shape your career goals?

Following graduation, I think I’ll work in the electrical industry. My experience at Edinburgh has provided me with a good academic grounding for my future career. 

In particular, the group projects I took part in helped me to improve my team work skills and ability to work under pressure, which will be really useful for a future role in industry.

Is there any advice you would give to prospective students thinking about studying your Programme at Edinburgh?

This Programme is perfect for any student who wants to become an electrical power engineer. The course content is interesting, and the staff are friendly. 

At Edinburgh, you will not only gain academic knowledge but also improve your abilities in different areas. This includes having an amazing social life since there are a lot of brilliant classmates from different countries!

Remember, whenever you encounter difficulties, don’t be afraid to ask for help as the staff here are friendly and supportive. 

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Nancy (Ziqing) Chen, MSc Electrical Power Engineering
Nancy (Ziqing) Chen, MSc Electrical Power Engineering