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Emma Zikun Wei

Emma Zikun Wei

graduate civil engineer, Mott MacDonald

Expertise

Water

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

Promoting use of coding among civil engineers in Mott MacDonald’s coding club

Awarded ‘Rising Star’ award at Mott MacDonald

ICE President’s Future Leader 2021/22

A day in my life

My day normally starts with logging into my laptop and checking my calendar for the day to see if there are any meetings that I need to prepare for. Being involved in large projects such as HS2 means that there is a lot of communication going on, and a lot of meetings to ensure the team is briefed on the decisions and progress.

Then I normally start with looking at my to-do list. My tasks normally involve developing calculations, technical reports and 2D/3D illustrations for the design based on our client’s requirements. The design is always checked by a senior engineer before being presented to the client.

Occasionally, my day involves site visits which take place either before, during or after the construction.

Tackling all types of problems coming my way is one of my favourite things about working as a civil engineer.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who is famous for amazing works such as The Great Western Railway, Rotherhithe Tunnel, Clifton Suspension Bridge and many more.

I always had a great interest in buildings and building models. During a summer camp at Bristol University, I attended a talk dedicated to his accomplishments. Then I visited two of his works: the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Brunel’s SS Great Britain museum ship.

The experience really inspired me, and I decided to apply for the civil and environmental engineering department that same year.

We asked Emma...

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego?

I have only made one thing out of Lego, it was the Central Perk Coffee House from the TV show ‘Friends’.

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

How much percentage of my work involves problem-solving. Not only for a piece of design, but during project management, coordination, as well as daily interaction with colleagues and clients.

Tackling all types of problems coming my way is one of my favourite things about working as a civil engineer.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

The potential direct positive impact I made, or could make, on society.

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

The Thames Barrier

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because...

You will have an opportunity to directly contribute to the sustainable development of our environment and infrastructure.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

There are many sectors within civil engineering, buildings and bridges are only one part of the industry.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also a programmer. I enjoy learning how to code and using programming languages to help our day-to-day civil engineering tasks.

Any hobbies?

I actually really recommend a game called City Skyline. It’s a city planning, building and management game. It simulates a lot of design and urban planning principles that I learnt in my civil engineering degree. A very well-designed game, and I think it's a great hobby from which to get inspiration.

Protect London from flooding with a massive steel barrier that works like a tap

Thames Barrier

Protect London from flooding with a massive steel barrier that works like a tap

Emma's career path

I took maths, further maths and physics for my A-Levels. I applied for the four-year MEng course in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London and really enjoyed every part of it. I was involved in some volunteering summer projects, and a few internships, which led me to my current job at Mott MacDonald.

Major Projects

  • High Speed 2 (HS2), designer and design coordinator
  • River restoration, designer