In Conversation with...Tegan ForbesFollow article
In these informal discussions, Grass Roots Intern Meg Bray delves into each of our guest's background, explores what make them ' tick' and poses a few questions relating to their future opportunities and aspirations.
So...why don't you grab a coffee or tea, put your feet up and relax as we delve into the next episode of the BLT interview series by Meg as she talks to mechanical and aerospace engineer Tegan from our Fresh Advisors Board.
Thanks for taking some time to talk to me. My first question is where did you go to university?
Tegan: I go to Loughborough University but I also did an exchange to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for a semester, which was very cool!
That must have been so much fun! What are you studying?
Tegan: I'm studying mechanical and aerospace engineering but over there I was just studying mechanical engineering but that's actually how I met Isabella (VP of Grass Roots).
What is one of your favourite parts of university?
Tegan: I think my exchange has to be one of the best experiences but I would also say the people, I feel like university is one of the most opportunity dense points in your life, you have so many opportunities in one space in one time and I feel like that's one of my favourite parts as you can't get bored - always something new to try!
There's just so many different experiences you get to see at university. What was one of your favourite opportunities you partook in?
Tegan: I would say the one that's had the biggest impact following on was a student competition I entered in my third year, one of my lectures emailed me about it and it was run by the Royal Academy of Engineering and was called The Global Grand Challenges Student Competition so the idea was to tackle one of the grand engineering challenges but it was the first time I was working on a project in a team that wasn't university-based so we had external sources. I think it was so cool as we did the UK competition and finished in the top five so we went on to the international competition against America and China and off the back of that we got accepted onto the follow on programme so we could continue to learn and develop our innovation and fast forward to now, we are in a position to register our start up which is built around that competition.
That's amazing and definitely had a huge impact on you and helped you get where you are now.
Tegan: Yeah, we were designing toilet blocks for rural areas and urbanising communities in developing countries and in the follow on project, we developed resources such as fertiliser and charcoal to generate data tracking diseases.
The competition has opened up so many doors for you. That work sounds incredible and will have such a large impact on those countries. My next question is what is one of your favourite things to do on a day off?
Tegan: Escape the indoors! Go outside, go on a big walk just escape the house! At Loughborough, we have what we call the 'Loughborough bubble' as it's a huge campus so as a fresher if you want to you can just stay on campus the whole year. I also founded a society at university, the IET has an on-campus student group and I got an award from them in my second year, I felt like I couldn't just take the money and run so I decided to give something back so I started an on-campus group putting on technical talks.
I think that's brilliant wanting to give something back but also starting a society that can help the freshers and other classmates. So, what would you say is something that can instantly make your day better?
You must really like the current weather then!
Tegan: Take me back to Singapore! I would also say a good conversation. Sometimes I will come off meetings and will just be more energised. Especially when we have the Fab catchups.
It can be so nice talking to people that aren't in your little bubble at home! Speaking to different people is so refreshing.
Tegan: Yeah! Especially as I have always been an independent person so I'm willing to chat with a stranger but because we are in the pandemic I haven't managed to have a little informal conversation with people for a while.
'Teams' calls are the way to go! You have definitely accomplished a lot and got some incredible things planned for the future but how do you manage to stay motivated?
Tegan: I guess I'm motivated by challenges and wanting to achieve something better or new. Just doing things a bit differently. I feel like it motivates me as an engineering student to know I am building the skill set to solve problems. Problems have always been solved before but in a different way, problems never solved before, large problems, small problems, all problems! For me that's a driving force, knowing I'm in a position to find challenges and solve them.
You said you worked in a team before and that you're quite an independent person. Do you prefer working independently or collaborating with other people?
Tegan: I think it's a bit of both. There is definitely a place for both. It's really cool thinking of new ideas and realising no one has ever thought of it before but it's also great working on a team and everyone is bringing different ideas and diversity of thoughts to build on each other's ideas.
It always amazes me how much you guys have achieved and the different ways you all stay motivated. What would you consider to be your career highlight so far?
Tegan: A big question! Being on the FAB15 is a pretty big deal. To have someone like Isabella realise the passion I have for engineering, volunteering and sharing ideas and then be given a global platform to work with is incredible and something I would never have expected so it's even more exciting. Being in the Virtual Incubatoris great as I'm accepted as part of a cohort of founders and soon to be founders from all over the world. I think it started with just the UK, US and China but then grew to all over Europe and Asia so being accepted in that makes me really proud of both me and my team.
Definitely some incredible career highlights. You have done so much! My final question is what do you want your FAB15 legacy to be?
Tegan: That's a pretty hard question! My obvious answer is to be remembered as the founding team of LEGIT which will hopefully go on to be a global competition where young kids get to have these great opportunities. But also it would be nice if people realise the difference between being chilled and not lazy! I just don't get stressed much so if I could help people become less stressed that would be great!