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Which project do you lead? Tell us a little about it.
I lead Project Impactive which was started a few years ago by Mechanical Engineering students, seeing a gap in the provision of tools for disabled people. Project Impactive connects students from UCL with individuals with disabilities to create personalised products for them.
Why did you want to become a Project Leader?
I have moved a lot and have lived in 6 different countries, which showed me how all places are different. They all have their unique culture, language, environment. At the same time, however, there are important commonalities – everywhere people want to do good. I wanted to be part of this and give back to my local community, no matter where I am. At UCL in London, I saw many opportunities to do that, and Project Impactive has been a chance for me to give back and see the results. I also wanted to show younger students with a passion for engineering that it doesn’t have to be simply a white-collar profession. Engineering can have very real and visible impact on people in their everyday life
What have you enjoyed about being a Project Leader?
One of the best things for me has been the opportunity to connect to so many smart and talented people and just by being around them I have learned so much
In my role, I have gained a lot of management experience. If you don’t get the work done, no one else will and I think this is great! At the same time, being a Project Leader is probably more flexible than some other leadership roles such as a society president. At Project Impactive we have another co-leader and we share the workload and help each other when one of us has an important university project, for example.
The whole team has been amazing, and everyone puts more than 100% into it. Everything you do as a Project Leader depends on them – they are the driving force of Project Impactive!
How has your network developed whilst being a Project Leader?
Throughout the year I have connected to clients, partners, engineers and many other great individuals. We also have 33 brilliant volunteers, and it has been great working with them. With such a network, new opportunities arise all the time. For example, a team member had a friend in a newspaper, and we got in touch with them for help with our marketing, which was very beneficial!
What was the biggest challenge you encountered? How did you overcome this challenge?
A continuous challenge for us over the past year has been the inability to meet with clients face-to-face when designing a product for them. Even though there has been a lot of support from UCL and our partners, this has been something quite out of everyone’s control. We have had to transform the way we work and find new ways to keep engagements high from all stakeholders.
For this reason, we have expanded the scope of our activities. For example, we now do more outreach work with school and we also ran a Hackathon with students interested in engineering. The event was all about creating accessible products and students were tasked with creating such designs and discussing problems. We had a lot of fantastic designs which we will develop in the future.