Interview with Antigoni Chrysina, current graduate
Posted on February 1, 2016
We spoke to one of our current graduates Antigoni Chrysina about her background, why she chose to work in the clean energy industry and her time at Intelligent Energy so far.
Antigoni Chrysina joined Intelligent Energy in 2014, participating on the UK Graduate Programme which has allowed her to experience working in a number of different areas of the business. Alongside her placement, Antigoni is also studying to become a Chartered Engineer.
Originally from Athens, Greece, Antigoni excelled academically and gained awards of excellence in all academic years from the Greek Ministry of Education. She then went on to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Patras, coming to the UK in 2013 to study Advanced Chemical Engineering with Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College London.
Find out more about our UK Graduate Programme here.
Why did you choose to study and work in Engineering?
First of all I think the influence of my family, which is filled with engineers, has contributed towards me developing a practical way of thinking and a passion for creativity. These characteristics, combined with a prevailing inclination that I had for natural sciences when I was in school, were the driving force that led me to choose my career path as a chemical engineer at the age of 15.
I was aiming for a career which could blend chemistry and physics with mathematics and programming, but also one in which all these sciences could find application in practice, improving our technology dependent world. Chemical engineering was undoubtedly the best choice, and after successfully passing the national exams, I enrolled in the department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Patras in Greece.
As a result of my undergraduate studies, I developed a great interest and eagerness to proceed with further postgraduate studies in Chemical Process Engineering. My aim was firstly to develop a more detailed understanding of all the processing steps that contribute towards designing from scratch a complete system which converts raw materials into desired products, and also to gain an insight on the optimisation techniques that can be applied to improve an existing processing system. I think that my MSc degree met my objectives and gave me all the knowledge I needed to step into the real-world problems and start my career as a Chemical Process Engineer.
Why did you choose to work in the clean energy industry?
Global energy demand is increasing as there is rapid growth of the earth’s population; our current energy model is not sustainable. Carbon emissions are a real problem, leading to climate change and other environmental phenomena.
Therefore, as a society we should look to add cleaner forms of energy to the overall mix; I personally consider fuel cell technology as a viable, clean and efficient alternative to meeting our energy needs.
What are the best parts of your job?
The best part of my job is putting the knowledge I’ve gained during study into practice. It’s an environment where I am continually learning and progressing as an engineer.
I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with multidisciplinary groups, it’s been invaluable to see how all these different areas can work together to solve the same problem, with each group bringing their own expertise. The difference means that individuals can see beyond their boundaries and become more open-minded.
I get a lot of satisfaction from completing a task that has been assigned to me or getting a good result on something that I am working on. I believe that this feeling motivates me to keep trying even more and it will help me to become a better engineer.
I think it is really important to look at the big picture; there is nothing better than knowing why you are doing something and how this fits into the bigger picture. Personally I feel that what I am doing matters and (in the long term), it will help to make our world “cleaner” and thus, a better place. This thought makes me happy every morning when I come to work.
Which projects have you found particularly interesting?
I can’t pick one specific project because each one has been unique and interesting in its own way. I’ve enjoyed every project that I’ve been involved with so far for different reasons; each one of the three projects that I’ve worked on since I joined IE has offered me a different set of skills that enhanced my professional development.
What skills make a good engineer?
I believe that to be a good engineer, you need to be open-minded, responsible, results-oriented, passionate, have an attitude for self-development, a creative mind and be a team worker.
What can be done to encourage more diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) roles?
Intelligent Energy has a STEM ambassadors team that visit schools to encourage an interest in STEM subjects, I feel this is a great way of getting young people interested in these disciplines at an early age.
What advice would you give to aspiring engineers looking to get their first job in the industry?
My advice would be, don’t waste time! Get some experience and get into the industry today and you’ll be surprised at how much you can progress as an engineer, you never stop learning!
I would really encourage them to get into this industry as they will have a unique chance to gain hands-on experience with practical projects and the chance to apply what they’ve learnt during their studies to solve real-world problems.