Posted Wednesday 12 August 2020
An engineering student who came to Kingston University through Clearing is hoping to be a part of a drive to increase sustainability in the aerospace industry once she graduates.
Sagal Dualeh wasn't sure what to do next when she found out she had narrowly missed out on the grades for both her firm and insurance choices on A-level results day. But a call to the Kingston University Clearing hotline soon put her mind at ease, and she hasn't looked back since.
"I was heartbroken when I didn't get the results I needed for my choices," Sagal said. "I was looking at my alternative options and found myself really drawn to the Kingston University website.
"I called the hotline and the person I spoke to was so lovely, they saved me really. I had questions about accommodation and they were so helpful and reassuring. Then they put me through to a lecturer which was brilliant, as they could answer my course-specific questions in detail. I phoned other universities too but I knew Kingston was the right choice."
Having developed a passion for sustainable practice and renewable energy during the first two years of her aerospace engineering course at the University, the 20 year old from Ealing is hoping to embark on a career in that field once she graduates. "The support from my lecturers and my personal tutor has been amazing, constantly encouraging me and doing all the little things that have really helped pushed me to succeed," she said. "Before I came to Kingston I was really interested in space, but my focus now is on how to make the aviation industry better for the environment.
"I've picked a number of renewable-related modules for my third year and can't wait to learn more about what's possible."
At school, engineering was never a career path Sagal considered. "Growing up I was focused on subjects such as art and it was only when I was doing my GCSEs that I began really focusing on maths and science," she said. "I was one of only three girls in my A-level physics class and you do feel a pressure there. My family is hugely supportive, but there weren't really any female role models talking about engineering. One thing I feel strongly about is that educating young girls about STEM careers should start from the toy box - once I'm working in the industry I want to go into primary schools and share that passion with the next generation."
Alongside her studies, Sagal took up a role with the University's alumni team last year, where she worked on the Inspire the Future campaign, set up to help ensure anyone with the ability to succeed at Kingston has the opportunity to do so. Donations from successful alumni go towards funding emergency hardship grants, scholarships and supporting care leavers or those estranged from their families.
"I've learned a lot from both the alumni team and the graduates I spoke to. It was really inspirational to talk to people who had studied the same course as me about what they have gone on to do and why they wanted to give something back. I also gained valuable work experience at the same time," she said.
As she prepares to start the final year of her course, Sagal also had some words of advice for other students who may find themselves in the same position as she did on A-level results day.
"It's not the end of the world if you don't quite get the marks you hopes for, even though it may feel like it initially," she said. "You're not a failure and better things are just round the corner. Just go in to it with a fresh mind. I was so worried at the time but have such a different outlook on life now. Nothing seems impossible."