The IET Present around the World (PATW) Competition
Global competition for students, recent graduates, apprentices and young professionals aged 18-26 years
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Present around the World International Final 2010
Five regional finalists wowed the audience at an IET awards ceremony in London on 24 November 2010 hosted by Jem Stansfield, inventor and presenter of BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory.
Kyle Stansfield won the global final having already had to fight off stiff competition in a local Present around the World heat in his home country of Australia, and a regional heat for Australasia. He received a cash prize of £1,000, with the runner-up, Ms Yara Abdallah from Egypt, receiving £500.
|“Coming from a family of musicians, I’m not exactly sure why I was drawn to science and technology in the first place, but it always just felt like the thing to do. Growing up, I always had some kind of project on the go. I could see how powerful science and technology was, so I had a strong commitment to learning about it from an early age”|
Throughout Kyle’s time at university he made a conscious effort to absorb himself in industry experience, feeling this would help him make an informed decision about career direction upon graduating. He was fortunate enough to gain vacation work in the defence, mining, and biotechnology sectors and worked part time in his final years of undergraduate at Macquarie Bank providing IT support to the investment banking group.
“I always felt that University was incredibly important, but at the same time could never give you a sense of the industry. The skills you acquire in an engineering degree are highly transferable, so your career options are very broad. I found that getting work experience in different areas, not only helped me with my career direction, but also gave me a greater understanding of what it means to be an engineer”
Kyle represented the University of Melbourne at the Victoria Present around the World competition, for his final year engineering project soundBeam. soundBeam is a highly directional speaker system Kyle developed that uses the power of ultrasound to generate a highly directional beam of audible sound. Unlike conventional speakers that fill a room with sound, this technology can direct sound to an individual in a room without being heard by others.
“I was very excited about the opportunity. I had heard about the IET through university activities and was excited to have the chance to get up and talk about my project.”
How Kyle prepared his presentation
“I spent a lot of time thinking about ways to explain my project. soundBeam was definitely something I knew people could find interesting, but only if they understood it. I ran my ideas past a lot of friends and colleagues but invariably found the best advice came from those with no technical background. As an engineer or any person involved in the design process, it is very tempting to delve into detail. In some situations this is necessary, but with only 10 minutes to talk about something that took a year to make, this detail becomes a distraction. In my presentation, I tried to forget about how I made soundBeam and focus more on what it was, how it worked and why it was useful. I found leaving out detail excruciating at times, but to communicate technology effectively, and get people excited about it, they need to understand it.”
How it felt to be at the global final in London
“After nursing my soundBeam halfway around the world, I was very relieved to find that it still worked upon arriving in London. Getting up and presenting my project to an audience of industry leaders was an amazing experience, and something I will never forget. I presented my project with more confidence than I’d ever had before. That’s the great thing about the present around the world competition; you learn and get stronger at each stage”
What winning PATW has meant
“When I was announced winner of the global final, I felt a great sense of achievement. Looking back at the competition, it was a big journey, and something I worked very hard at. It may sound cliché, but I didn’t go in with an attitude to win, obviously I thought about it, but I focused more on developing my presentation skills. I feel very fortunate and proud that I won this event, but if I hadn’t I still would have walked away from the competition having learnt something. It’s a great thing that organisations such as the IET exist, and provide opportunities like the Present around the World competition to young engineers. The competition improved my presentation skills and confidence, gave me the opportunity to demonstrate my project to a global audience, and to network with leaders in my field. “
Kyle’s current role and plans and aspirations for the future
Kyle has continued to follow his passion, and is now working as an electronic design engineer for Bionic Vision Australia, where he is working on the Bionic Eye Project, an exciting new project that aims to develop a retinal prosthesis that will help restore vision to people with degenerative eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age related macular degeneration (AMD).
“I see my future in research and development in the area of biotechnology. In this area you get the opportunity to be part of cutting edge research, in a highly multidisciplinary environment, on projects that can directly improve the quality of life. I’m just at the beginning of my career, but I have more confidence than ever that hard work and commitment will pay off, as they did with the present around the world competition”