Marnie McKay

Marnie McKay - Engineering student

I’m a Strathclyde University Engineering Student, currently spending my 4th year on exchange at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Each summer I enjoy work placements with Atkins and have so far worked in Epsom, York and Belshill. I also mentor and tutor for Strathclyde Uni.

1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was younger, I wanted to be on stage in the West End. I loved performing and it was a fantastic feeling to seeing the audiences’ enjoyment.

2. Who or what inspired you to become a Student Engineer?

I attended ‘Scottish Space School’ at Strathclyde University when I was sixteen and went on to be selected as one of ten pupils to experience a ‘Learning Journey’ to NASA in Houston, Texas. Both experiences opened my eyes to the wonders of engineering I realised there and then that I too wanted to apply my love of maths and science to make a difference to the world through engineering too.

3. Tell us a little bit about your role. What does your typical day involve?

My university day starts with breakfast with friends, going to lectures to learn the courses I have chosen, some time in the lab for practical engineering or project work, some studying, occasional French lessons and then quality time with good friends – mentoring, volunteering, enjoying university or engineering societies and importantly socialising. At weekends I’m also taking every opportunity to visit friend and travel the world - I love Asia!

Marnie McKay holidaying with friends in Bali

4. What do you love about your job and what would you change?

At university, I love what I’m learning (it’s all really interesting!) and being in amongst like-minded people. I also love all the opportunities on offer - especially those which encourage others to enjoy Engineering too! If I could change anything, it would be to have more hours in the day!

5. What qualifications did you take at school/college?

At school, Maths, English, Chemistry, Physics, French and Latin. I also did a Scottish Science Baccalaureate where I explored aircraft safety. That was really interesting!

6. Did you go to university? Was a degree required for your role?

I still have a year and a bit left of my degree course. In summer placement though I have worked alongside engineers who took the apprentice route, entering the workplace straight from school and studying at college whilst working.

7. What gives you the most job satisfaction?

When projects are delivered and implemented in real life. Some of the projects can involve well known areas or events and that is cool to have been a part of!
I also enjoy solving problems with other engineers through perseverance - especially those which initially seemed impossible to solve!

8. What’s the most unexpected thing about your job?

The global nature of engineering and the opportunities to travel the world whether to work, study, go to a conference or visit other engineers!

9. If you could give one piece of advice to a young person who is considering becoming an engineer, what would it be?

Go for it! It is rewarding and worthwhile. Every day I am interested and engaged in what I am doing. There is always another problem to be solved, another project to be delivered and another engineer to meet and work alongside! Through engineering, I know I’ll be making a real difference to our world and others’ lives ...and you could too.

10. What do your friends/family think about your job?

My friends and family all think it’s very exciting that I study engineering. They are interested in projects I am working on.

11. Do you have any hobbies that you like to do to relax?

I love to go to the theatre, perform in shows and continue learning French.

Marnie McKay performing in the theatre

12. Would you say that you had a good work/life balance?

I definitely have a good work/life balance. I still manage to keep up with friends and enjoy hobbies whilst studying during the week.

13. What would it surprise people to know about you?

I still sing and dance in theatre whilst studying engineering!


14. What are the biggest implications your work will/could have in the future?

My work could solve or improve global problems which need solved – global warming, accessibility to clean water and the need for more infrastructure to name a few!

15. What excites you most about engineering?

The, as yet, unknown!

16. What should no engineer leave home without?

Their passion – it’s always required!!