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Homepage / From stars and stripes to hazards and risk assessments

From stars and stripes to hazards and risk assessments


Stress Buddy

I can’t stress enough how much I’m enjoying myself at Cranfield. Not only do I love what I’m studying (Environmental Engineering MSc), I love the way it’s taught. It’s so different from coursework in the USA, and I think that makes it perfect. In the USA, you have 5 classes a day, at least 3 times a week, with assignments and tests spread just enough throughout that you don’t pass out from exhaustion. If you ask me what I learned from the last time I tried to earn a Master’s degree, I can only tell you college is too expensive and I hate snowploughs that show up at 4 am.

But after only my first week at Cranfield, I’ve already bored my fiancée to death with what I’ve learned about hazards and risk assessments. Now, I’ve had some experience with this subject before as I used to work in a nuclear waste facility. I’ve seen that consequence vs. likelihood chart. One of the reading list articles mentioned a DOE standard for risk that I’ve spent 5 years working with. But I still walked away with something.

The course started out with about two – three days of discussion covering everything we needed to know about the process of risk assessment. I barely had to take notes because the slides had everything laid out in an extremely easy to understand way. I don’t think you could make it simpler or better, and we weren’t just talked at all day long. The teachers did a great job of connecting us to the material with mini projects and interactive group projects. Things got really intense the last two days. It was sink or swim. And while frustrating and daunting, I loved every second of it. The stress toys given to us us (see picture above) by our lecturer helped too! You not only got to practice applying what you were learning, but you got feedback and a chance to discover what you didn’t understand or forgot. Friday was particularly helpful. We did a risk assessment in one day, step by step. And since we were in groups, we got to see a variety of ways to approach the problem, with feedback on which way was more helpful. It was awesome!

My attempt at a Source-Pathway-Receptor (S-P-R) Link diagram

Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to learn this material. From the overall study structure at Cranfield, to the day to day coursework – it’s perfect for me.

Caroline Johnson

Written By: Cranfield University

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