I grew up in Ireland but am currently living in Oxford, working as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer with robots! I’m into all things nerdy and gaming, but I also like a wee adventure like hiking through someplace new.
I grew up on a small cow farm in rural Ireland before I went to university in Belfast, also spending a semester abroad in Germany where I did a lot of hiking in the Alps! I moved over to England a year and a half ago when I got this job in Oxford and am really enjoying it so far. The people I work with are great and I’ve definitely made a lot of friends here that I do a lot of activities with like hiking, climbing, having dinner, going quizzing, and playing D&D with.
I design and develop robots and strategies to help maintain Nuclear Fusion Reactors where it would be too dangerous for humans to go into. It’s also a dangerous place for robots so we work to make them tougher so they can do their jobs properly. My office is really cool because it looks like just a regular office on one side of the building but the other half is a big workhall where all our testing robots live. We also have out big reactor on site that’s called JET and we send our robot called MASCOT inside it where it fixes the inside wall for us. The way MASCOT is controlled is like a puppet where the operator moves a copy of the robots arms exactly the way he wants them to move on the robot.
My Typical Day:
I roll out of bed, make my coffee then head with my flatmates to work! I usually get the train to the site which is south of Oxford and head into the office. I spend my day researching different robotic systems, analysing them, and also discussing them with the people I work with in office and all across Europe and sometimes the whole world!
I travel with my flatmates to work, as they both also work at my company as an electrical engineer and a physicist. We travel by train as there is a train station only a short walk away from our site, but we always have to hope that the weather is good! Thankfully I also have the option to work remotely as much of the work I do can be done from my laptop. This work largely involves researching and studying robotic systems for remote maintenance, then analysing these systems to determine their suitability for the desired requirements and discussing it with my colleagues in office and other engineers and physicists across the globe. I sometimes have to use maths so solve problems, or use computer programs to model robot shapes and performances. After work I usually like to go for a run if the weather is good, hang out with friends, play games, watch movies, whatever takes me in the moment really!
What I'd do with the prize money:
I would like to try to promote Nuclear Fusion in Northern Ireland and perhaps the Republic of Ireland more as the nuclear industry doesn’t exist there and most people don’t know anything about it!
St Davog’s Primary School, Belleek, Northern Ireland
St Michael’s Grammar School, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
Ulster University Jordanstown, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Augsburg University of Applied Sciences, Bavaria, Germany
1 A*, 4 A’s, 5 B’s
B in Maths, C in Physics, D in Chemistry
MEng Masters in Mechanical Engineering
MEng Masters in Mechatronic Systems
Farmhand and Construction Labourer (working with my dad): most of my life
Architects CAD technician: Summers when I was 15/16
Supermarket Shop Assistant: from age 17-21 (during school and uni)
Student Engineer: did 2 years of industrial placement with a manufacturer of lead-lined doors and wall panels for x-ray rooms in hospitals
I’m currently a graduate mechanical engineer developing robot remote maintenance systems and strategies for maintaining upcoming nuclear fusion reactors. This is largely a research and development application where systems have to be bespoke designed to suit the ever changing requirements of the reactor designs. I mainly work on developing systems for the future DEMO reactor, a large international project which will demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power generating electricity on the grid. We are currently moving from an initial concept design phase into starting to develop test rigs for the different proposed systems.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Nuclear Robots Nerd
What did you want to be after you left school?
Didn't really know for sure, but Engineer was my main choice
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Occassionally, I was never fond of homework!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Mexican, especially burritos
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Money, Power, Glory - but I usually get all that when I play Dungeons & Dragons
Tell us a joke.
Why did the robot fail his exam? He was a bit rusty!