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Cat Salvini

Cat Salvini

Graduate, Heriot-Watt University




United Kingdom
My highlights

ICE QUEST scholar

Worked on project digging up a Roman graveyard to record and preserve before a road was laid on it

2018 Pitch 200 finalist - I baked rocky road in front of 150 to teach them about concrete

A day in my life

I have lectures on aspects of structural design and analysis and construction materials.

I also spend a bit of time in the concrete laboratory running second year labs and carrying out my own research.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also ... a science communicator, theatre lighting technician, a world changer, and a Brownie Owl.

My career inspiration

I was supposed to be a lawyer, but my physics teacher encouraged me to join his STEM team and from there I got converted.

Cat wining the inaugural pan-Scottish Emerging Engineers Award.
Cat wining the inaugural pan-Scottish Emerging Engineers Award.

We asked Cat…

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

I had no idea how creative civil engineering was until I got to university and my first project was to build a pasta bridge.

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

In reality, there’s a whole range of people who are civil engineers and the diversity leads to better design.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

I wish I’d worked on the original London sewer system – it was the first time Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) was used on a project and reports say that a lot of people hoped it would fail.

Look at OPC now!

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

Knowing that what I work on can improve people’s lives – even though they probably won’t realise.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

… it’s surprising – in a good way! And you get to make a tangible difference to people’s lives.

How has civil engineering helped you overcome personal hurdles?

The ICE QUEST Scholarship has made university more affordable.


I completed my Highers and Advanced Highers at a Scottish nonselective state-funded high school and graduated with an MEng degree from Heriot-Watt University in 2019.


I do professional theatre lighting design, play clarinet, and do amateur stand-up comedy.