PhD Graduate 2010 - Katherine Cashell
Katherine completed her PhD in the Structures Section of the Civil Engineering department in 2010. The subject of her PhD thesis was the behaviour of composite floor slabs during extreme loading events, such as a fire. This work involved experimental, numerical and analytical studies, and provided the basis for Katherine’s future career as a Structural Engineer and academic researcher.
Following her undergraduate studies at University College Cork (UCC) and Master’s degree at University College Dublin (UCD), Katherine developed an enthusiasm for research as well as a keen desire to improve her fundamental knowledge of civil engineering structures. This led her to Imperial College in 2006 to commence her PhD, which was supervised by Professors Elghazouli and Izzuddin.
In 2009, after completing her PhD, Katherine was keen to work in a different environment for a few years, in order to gain exposure to “real” engineering applications. Therefore, she joined the structural engineering consultancy, High-Point Rendel (HPR) Ltd., where she worked on many different design projects (e.g. London Underground upgrades, Thames Barrier works) and was also involved in construction management. She then joined the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) in 2009, which is based in Ascot, Berkshire. The SCI is a commercial research and development institute which also offers bespoke consultancy and advisory services as well as producing various guidance and review publications. One of the main aspects of her role at the company was related to research projects, including proposal writing, project and resource management, technical input and dissemination. After two years at the SCI, Katherine decided to move back to a University environment and joined Brunel University London as a Lecturer in Structural Engineering.
Since being at Brunel, Katherine has been teaching Structural Engineering modules to both undergraduate and postgraduate students and has supervised many PhD students (3 to completion, so far!). She is now a Senior Lecturer and greatly enjoys her job, particularly the interaction with students and also being able to focus on research. She credits Imperial with giving her the skills and confidence to pursue her academic career, and remains highly motivated to continue improving her fundamental knowledge of how different types of structure behave.