Third Year Engineering student Faizaan Pervaiz (U18) has been fascinated by fast and powerful machines for as long as he can remember. He hugely enjoys learning the fundamental theory that underpins their design and allows engineers to continuously make them more effective.

Learning about supersonic flight and watching a supersonic flow and shock wave form in a wind tunnel right before my eyes for the very first time was a highlight of the year.

Faizaan was born and raised in Hyderabad, India and moved with his family to the UK at the age of seven before going on to attend a state secondary school in Gloucester. Since coming to Churchill he has received a Cambridge Bursary and a Winston Churchill Top-Up Bursary. Crucially, the bursaries have alleviated general concerns about making ends meet throughout his time at university, with the funds covering occasional shortfalls in living costs so he can concentrate on academic work.

The support has also opened the door to extra-curricular activities unique to Cambridge such as formal halls, membership of the Cambridge Union and subject specific societies featuring inspiring and influential speakers. In short, the extra bursary support has enabled Faizaan to focus on his academic work and participate in both the Churchill College and wider University communities as well as making the most of other opportunities available to him; for example, pursuing career boosting internships.

The bursaries have supported me in countless ways. Most notably, the financial support has allowed me to complete internships during the last two summers, helping with travel and accommodation costs which I would have otherwise found difficult to cover, and will achieve the same this summer as I undertake a 10-week internship as a software engineer at a London-based financial firm. My previous internships, one at the Bank of England and another at a fintech start-up based in London, were incredibly useful as they helped develop my technical skills and my career in general and are a very strong base for future progression.

The extra financial support Faizaan has received has also enabled him to take part in outreach events to help improve awareness of engineering among young students. For example, during his first year he helped test and judge small electric cars built by primary school students at an event in Bristol and helped host a model construction stand at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

All in all Faizaan is very clear about the multiple positive impacts the bursaries have had on his experience as well as their vital importance to others in the same position.

The bursaries I have received have enhanced every aspect of my time at university and it is vital that future students continue to benefit from the same support to ensure their financial background does not affect the opportunities, experiences, and academic success they can have during their time at Cambridge.

Faizaan greatly values the community spirit and relaxed atmosphere at Churchill as well as the gym facilities and the large, open green spaces of the College site. Looking ahead, he hopes to build on his internships to secure a full-time role as a software developer but his time at Cambridge has also inspired him to potentially work with fellow engineering students on a start-up of their own.

The engineering department at Cambridge is a very lively place with countless ideas being shared, developed, and mentored by incredibly intelligent people and has a track record of cultivating very successful startup companies and entrepreneurs. The prospect of working with fellow engineering students to launch an idea of our own is very exciting and another aspiration of mine.