I left school without knowing where I wanted to end up, but feeling that my strengths lay in the physical sciences. I applied for Chemical Engineering at University because I liked the idea of applying my scientific knowledge to specific practical problems. The Cambridge course structure allowed me to study Natural Sciences in my first year, which at the time I saw as a benefit in case I changed my mind. However, the best aspect of the first year was in fact the variety it offered - by studying Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Biology of Cells I covered a massive breadth of material, giving me knowledge that I've relied on ever since.
For me, what sets Chemical Engineering apart from other courses are the regular projects. These range from smaller (fortnightly) 'exercises' to much more intense design and research projects. Whilst the course material forms the basis for these, they give a much more problem-solving slant to the subject; only by using the internet, books and seminars can you come to a suitable conclusion. These kinds of skills came in very useful during my summer internship with Merck, Sharp and Dohme (pharmaceuticals) - most importantly they gave me the confidence to tackle problems with which I really had no idea where to start.
After graduating I'm planning to stay at Cambridge to do a PhD, working on problems with fouling foodstuffs (in collaboration with industry). After the PhD, I'd like to return to pharmaceutical formulation research, although Chemical Engineering skills are versatile enough that I could still work in a wide range of industries.
Route: Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences
A-levels: Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics