Logan Sirel, MEng Chemical Engineering

Why did you choose your degree at Edinburgh, and what did you enjoy most about studying it?

At school I always enjoyed doing applied maths and also chemistry, so chemical engineering seemed like a pretty obvious choice for me in terms of degree. After visiting the University of Edinburgh at the Open Day I was pretty sold on going there. The combination of a world-renowned university, very welcoming and helpful staff and the overall buzz and feel to the city meant it was an easy decision.

Having finished my programme, I would say the opportunity to expose yourself to different experiences in the five years at university were what I found most enjoyable – it helps to break up what is a pretty long degree. I spent my third year studying abroad in the USA at Iowa State which was hugely rewarding and great fun.

Also, the industrial placement programme in the final year of the masters is massive in getting field experience before graduation and helping with employment once you’re done.   

What is it like being a student at Edinburgh, and have there been any particular highlights or standout memories?

I can’t speak highly enough of the student experience at Edinburgh. The city’s social scene is incredible, including the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival which happens every year for the month of August, where the students of the city are key in staffing and helping make the festival the success that it is.  

My time at university was shaped massively by being part of the Men’s Football Club (EUAFC). Being able to study while maintaining a training schedule and playing a high level of football helped keep a routine which I feel was necessary to my successes at university. The friends that I met by being part of the club I will have for life and they made my time at uni as enjoyable as it was – including four club tours around Europe, three flatmates, two years on the club committee and one as the Men’s Football Club Captain.

The sports facilities at the University of Edinburgh are among the best in the UK and the huge range of sports clubs on offer to students means it caters for all. 

Is there anything the University or School of Engineering offers which has enhanced your experience as a student?

As mentioned, the year abroad programme at Edinburgh is brilliant. The range of placement options is huge and couldn’t be more global. This experience made my time as a student even more memorable – I was able to study in America at a massive university which was something I had always wanted to do. I met tons of new people, plenty of whom I am still friends with now, and got the chance to represent Iowa State in their Men’s Soccer team after being recruited through trials. Genuinely can’t speak highly enough of my time in the USA.  

I would also like to share my experience of the wellbeing support system at Edinburgh. During my fourth year I had a pretty rough time personally which led me to get in touch with my personal tutor about how I could get some help from the university. I was quickly put in touch with an advisor and given some leeway on some hand-ins at the time until I recovered to feeling somewhat like myself again.

Had it not been for that help and quick response I don’t think I would have continued despite being so far along my degree – so huge credit to the assistance I got from the University there. 

Do you know what you plan to do after graduation? How has your time at Edinburgh helped to shape or further your career goals?

I am returning to Xodus Group where I had my student placement to work as a Graduate Engineer in energy consultancy. Studying at Edinburgh not only helped me get this opportunity but studying the fundamentals of chemical engineering such as thermodynamics and more specific modules such as carbon capture and oil & gas processes equipped me with the right tools to excel while I was there.

The School of Engineering's desire to provide students with classes on more renewable and sustainable forms of energy and technology have given me an awareness of the challenges that engineers face going forward and the right platform to help solve them as I start my career. 

Thinking back to your time as a fresher, is there any advice you would share with new students starting at the School of Engineering next term?

A few things. I would inform them (as I was in first year) of the importance of working as a team with your wider course group – you won’t get through it without them.

Secondly, get familiar with writing reports correctly and using MS Word etc to its full capacity, this will help immensely in the later years where this kind of stuff really matters.

Finally, enjoy your time at university, take every opportunity to immerse yourself in the full student experience and everything that Edinburgh has to offer – it’ll be over before you know it! 

Logan Sirel playing for Edinburgh University Association Football Club
Logan Sirel playing for Edinburgh University Association Football Club