An enriching placement year has inspired me to forge a career in robotics

MEng (Hons) Robotics student Katherine Page-Bailey shares her perspective on her time studying robotics at Plymouth

Why I chose Plymouth

“My main reason for studying at Plymouth was the location. Being at a university with a campus so close to the city centre was very convenient. Another reason was how welcoming the University of Plymouth felt. 

“When visiting open days, the student ambassadors in the labs were always happy to talk and only ever had good things to say about their experience with the University of Plymouth. 

“There is also a wide variety of sports and societies that can be joined for a more social university experience, I would recommend the Women’s Engineering Society.”

Katherine Page-Bailey
Cornish coast - Getty Image
University campus square
Burrator Reservoir, Dartmoor National Park
Drake's Place in the sunshine

Supportive environment

“I hadn’t given as much thought as I should have into what I wanted to do after completing my degree when I started university, so when the time came to consider placements I was out of my depth. Attending the placement lectures in which various companies, alumni and returning placement students spoke about the different roles they performed helped me to discover which kinds of roles were available and narrow down roughly what I wanted to do. 

“Since then I have taken elements that I have enjoyed, both from the course and my placement experience at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), to form a more robust career plan.

“I would recommend the University of Plymouth for a number of reasons, the practical hands-on learning, the support available to aid studying from the lecturers, but also services such as PALS and SUM:UP.”

PALS students

“I honestly don’t know where to start for picking just one favourite memory of the University of Plymouth. During my time at Plymouth I have met loads of interesting people and have had an assortment of enjoyable experiences from being a PALS leader to being on committees for societies and being a student ambassador.”

In hindsight

“The area I struggled with most over the course of degree has been programming, in hindsight I would have focused more on spending more time building up a good foundation before starting the course, and over holidays I would have spent more time reinforcing that skill.”

orator icub robot

Next steps

“Since studying on the BEng (Hons) course, I have transferred onto the MEng (Hons) degree and during this year I will also be applying for graduate schemes which I hope to start after completing the additional year of study.

“When starting the course, I was very unsure about what my plan would be for after graduation, I knew that robotics was a large field but I hadn’t fully appreciated the wide range of opportunities until I started searching for a placement. Completing the placement year at the DSTL and seeing the different areas where students studying similar degrees worked within the same company has given me more of an idea of which areas I would like to explore further and potentially specialise in.”

Women in electronics and robotics

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics are striving to eliminate the gender imbalance that exists nationally in the engineering sector.

Read more of our student stories

Left to right: Rithika Venkatesan, Chiara Rivetti, Jane Sheard, Katherine Page-Bailey


robot (n.)

1923, from English translation of 1920 play "R.U.R." ("Rossum's Universal Robots"), by Karel Čapek (1890–1938), from Czech robotnik "forced worker," from robota "forced labor, compulsory service, drudgery," from robotiti "to work, drudge," from an Old Czech source akin to Old Church Slavonic rabota "servitude," from rabu "slave," from Old Slavic *orbu-, from PIE *orbh- "pass from one status to another" (see orphan). The Slavic word thus is a cousin to German Arbeit "work" (Old High German arabeit). According to Rawson the word was popularised by Karel Čapek's play, "but was coined by his brother Josef (the two often collaborated), who used it initially in a short story."

Online Etymology Dictionary 2017, robot (n.) accessed 30 October 2017.