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Homepage / My journey to becoming a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Engineering MSc student at Cranfield University

My journey to becoming a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Engineering MSc student at Cranfield University


In March 2023 we caught up with Zeliha Kirik, a student on our Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Engineering MSc who was awarded a British Council Women in STEM scholarship.

Why did you choose to study at Cranfield?

I was very much interested in autonomous driving and connected vehicles. I knew that the UK is an excellent place to study and work within the autonomous driving industry. When I was checking the master’s programs in the UK, I was so excited to see that Cranfield was offering a specific program for that with strong industry partners.

How did the Women in STEM scholarship impact you?

The Women in STEM Scholarship offered by Cranfield University and British Council allowed me to finance my dream master’s program at a prestigious university in the country where I would like to study. So far, I have been learning a lot about my field, connecting with some experts from the industry, and travelling around the UK to get the British experience.

How does it feel to be a Women in STEM scholarship winner?

I still remember the moment I opened the scholarship result email; my heart was racing! I was in tears to be able to get one step closer to my dreams and goals, and I was so proud of myself.

I feel like all my hard work really paid off and I am truly grateful for this opportunity that takes me that one step closer to my personal and professional mission, which is creating an impact on society, hopefully by being part of the solution to the challenging autonomous driving problem.

What does it mean to you be a Women in STEM?

During my bachelor’s degree, I majored in electrical engineering and physics. I was always one of the very few women in my classes. Initially, I felt that I did not belong where I was, but after a while, I realised that sticking to what I wanted to do was the best decision I ever made.

I have always been part of various Women in STEM societies, and I always felt the great support and push of these societies helping me to come this far in the highly male-dominated industry of autonomous driving. Moreover, having role models is essential to be able to aim and follow similar paths to your role models. Therefore, I have been mentoring at a Women in STEM society in my home country Turkey. For me, now is a time to give-back to society, and I am planning to be a female role model as a professional and show other women and girls it is possible for them to do it too, by pushing and encouraging them, as I was encouraged before.

What were you doing before you came to study at Cranfield?

I was working as a software developer at an autonomous driving start-up.

How has your course been so far?

As I expected, it is going really well! We have various modules, ranging from more technical ones like path planning to business modules. This programme definitely helped me improve myself from different perspectives.

Zeliha Kirik

Written By: Alice Kirkaldy

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