Building Foundations with Becky Miller
We catch up with one of our Graduate Structural Engineers Becky Miller, which started her graduate job during the lockdown. We find out how she experienced her first couple of months working from home and how working at Webb Yates differs from her studies.
How long have you been at Webb Yates Engineers?
I have only been at Webb Yates for 2 months, but it has gone so quickly.
How does it feel to start a new job whilst being locked down in the largest urban centre in western Europe?
It’s pretty crazy isn’t it, I suppose none of us thought we’d be in this situation, but it has been great getting to start my graduate job. Online working hasn’t been as hard as I thought as everyone is happy to jump on a call to explain things to me, and it does have its benefits with no commute. Although saying that, I can’t wait to get into the office because you pick up so much more just being surrounded by people. It will also be really nice to properly meet people face to face, and of course, have a pint with them.
How does working in practice differ from your University experience?
Lots of the work is not actually that different to the projects that I have carried out at University, with the work pretty varied, from modelling in analysis software to carrying out detailed calculations. I also really enjoy the design meetings where you discuss ideas with the architects and come up with solutions to the problems faced. I think the main different is that now the elements I design are going to be built in real life, which feels pretty exciting, as at University all the projects were purely theoretical. I can’t wait to visit my first site where the structure I designed has actually been constructed.
Tell us about the support and training Webb Yates offer?
I am currently in a team of 4 people and they are always happy for a call if I have an issue or need additional help. People from different teams are also willing to help you out when they have more experience in a certain type of design, which is really nice. I have also been signed up to take part in some sketching training to improve my drawings and detailed designs, which I am looking forward to. I am also planning to gain my Chartership with Webb Yates and so hope to get a mentor to support my progress.
Which product or building has most inspired you and why?
I’m inspired by unique structural forms; one example is a tensegrity. Tensegrities are structures that are formed of compression members that do not touch but are held together in equilibrium by tensional members. I like how it is not immediately obvious how they stand up and yet can be very stable and aesthetically pleasing structures. I enjoy thinking about how things work and the possible practical applications of new innovative structural forms.
What are you doing to stay sane during lockdown?
I’ve been trying to go on walks to see some nature, it always helps put your thoughts in perspective and remind you that there is a whole world out there to explore. Also eating lots of chocolate always gives me a lot of joy and calling people just for a chat.