Krisha Kanumuru is in the final year of her BEng (Hons) in Electronic and Communications Engineering.
What attracted you to studying at Kent?
During my childhood I’ve been all over the world – I lived in America for six years and in England for three years and I’ve always loved Kent. I did check out the league tables too – and Kent was always first choice for me. I just preferred it over any other university.
How would you describe the degree?
I don’t think there have been any modules that I didn’t enjoy. I’ve loved everything. The second year is a challenge because the pace is much faster. We started the group projects and I was group leader and it’s hard to delegate tasks and do your own work. But now I feel that I can get a lot done in a short space of time, which is important to know. It definitely prepares you for the pressures of work.
What do you think about the level of support in your studies?
There’s a lot of support. If you go to the lecturers they will definitely help you out. And it’s nice to sit and have a chat with them about engineering – your project, your future. That’s what they are there for; to help you grow into the person you should be.
How would you describe your fellow students?
On my first day I made some good friends and now I know such a great circle of people that I don’t ever want to leave. The social aspect is important: it builds your confidence so much, being here.
How do you find the facilities at Kent?
If you’re doing any kind of degree, you need a space to relax. And Kent is that place! There’s so much greenery. We even have a pond right outside our building so you can just go and sit with the ducks. And we have our own social space in the School which is great. The labs are such a serious work environment; when you go into the social area, you can feel yourself relax – you don’t even have to leave the building.
Have you done any extra-curricular activities at Kent?
I’m not in many societies but I like being involved in what the School does. I’m a Student Ambassador for the School and get involved in Open Days, talking to students about coming to Kent. I also did a summer internship: I was working with one of the lecturers and had to create a software system using LabVIEW to control a laser. I think it made me appreciate the kind of things we learn at Kent – how they can be used in a real project.
Do you have any future career plans?
Yes – at the beginning of this year I talked to one of my lecturers about wanting to do a PhD. Then, one day, I was sitting in the social area and he came over to me and asked me whether I’d like to do some work related to Kent’s wheelchair research for my final-year project. Overnight I couldn’t sleep. Of course I really wanted to do it! It is a fantastic opportunity to be part of something bigger and hopefully it will take me closer to my PhD.
So how is the project going?
The brief was to create a brain-controlled interface that could classify EEG data (representing brain activity) into four directions. These results could then be sent to the microcontrollers in the wheelchair which would turn the chair accordingly. The problem is that brain signals are so noisy, which makes it difficult to find patterns. I don’t expect to complete the task but that’s how research tends to work: it moves slowly towards the goal.
Any advice for potential students?
Talk to your lecturers! That seems really daunting at first but Kent is completely different to being at school. If you’re open with the academics, they’ll be open with you. I actually got my summer internship from talking to one of my lecturers; they can provide you with so many opportunities.