The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonOur alumni

Nerea Palacios MSc ECE, 2015

Assistant Civil Engineer at AECOM

Nerea Palacios's Photo

The University of Southampton got my attention because it is ranked as a top university by all UK league tables, especially for engineering. In the coastal and maritime field, Southampton stands out for NOCS, the UK’s centre of excellence for oceanographic sciences where some of the ECE modules take place. This world-class research expertise together with the strong links to industry made me choose the MSc ECE.

The University is firmly linked to industry and it hosts many company presentations, career fairs and recruitment events. ECE students are highly valued by maritime firms.

What was the best thing about studying your course at Southampton?

The course has an important fieldwork component that allows you to go on trips to stunning spots along the UK's southern coast. The field trips allow you to put the knowledge learnt in the lectures into practice and get new research skills. I particularly enjoyed the international environment of the University. The course let me get to know amazing people from all around the world that led to long-lasting friendships.

Moreover, I would like to highlight the great career opportunities that are available. The University is firmly linked to industry and it hosts many company presentations, career fairs and recruitment events. ECE students are highly valued by maritime firms.

What was your standout highlight during the course?

I would highlight the completion of my research project, which I undertook in collaboration with AECOM. I analysed the risk of flooding and potential interventions in Yarmouth, a small town in the Isle of Wight. My project was awarded with the Professor Mike Clark Award by Solent Forum, which allowed me to fund my field trips to this stunning town and cooperate with the local research group.

Any career highlights?

After finishing my masters I started working as a graduate engineer for the AECOM Ports and Maritime team in Basingstoke. During this year and a half I have been involved in the design of challenging maritime projects in Central America, Africa and the UK. I have spent the last four months working as a site engineer for a project in the mouth of the Thames. My job has also allowed me to take part in graduate competitions and awards, attend technical seminars and even mentor my company's CEO in our reverse mentoring programme. My recent promotion and my increasing involvement in the projects make my everyday work as challenging as rewarding.

What do you want to do in the future? What was your career path following graduation from your course?

One of my main aims in the short term is to become a chartered engineer by the ICE and continue increasing my experience in the design of maritime and coastal projects. I would also like to complement my design skills with some additional site experience overseas.

What advice would you give to students hoping to follow in your footsteps?

I would encourage them to take advantage of all the career-related opportunities that the University offers: attend presentations from companies or their interest, workshops to write effective CVs, career fairs and also keep an eye on the University's job board. Companies advertise there their job offers aimed at University students! I particularly recommend them to complete their dissertation in collaboration with a company since that can be a good start to get a potential internship or even a job. 

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