What is it like to study for a PhD whilst working as an engineer at Patrick Parsons?

6 May 2021


Chrysanthi Stroumpouli is a valued member of our team at Patrick Parsons, serving as one of our Structural Engineers in our Twickenham office. Since joining us in 2020, Chrysanthi has embarked on an exciting academic journey, pursuing a PhD in tall building aerodynamics at City, University of London.

Juggling the demands of both roles can be challenging, but Chrysanthi has embraced the opportunity to combine academic research with practical engineering work. Her dedication to expanding her knowledge and expertise in tall building aerodynamics is evident in her commitment to pursuing a PhD while contributing to our engineering projects.

Undertaking a PhD while working as a Structural Engineer is no small feat, requiring a great deal of dedication and time management. Chrysanthi shares her experience of balancing her PhD studies with her engineering responsibilities.

Why did you chose to complete a PhD?

I didn’t always plan to do a PhD. After my Masters Degree I kept in touch with my professors at the research centre at University, as while I was working in industry I was also working at the research centre as a volunteer. One day my colleague at Patrick Parsons was having a problem with one of the projects he was working on and it gave me an idea. I said, “wait a moment, this thing needs to be researched.” I went to my old tutor and he said, “you need to do a PhD on this” and the rest is history!

Completing my PhD is going to give me the freedom to multitask, which I love. I can choose between academia and working in industry. People would always tell me that I had to choose one or the other, but then as I continued on my career journey I met those who advised me that I can do both, I don’t have to choose. I think having a background in both will help me to do my job better.

Can you tell us about your role at Patrick Parsons?

I have worked at Patrick Parsons for the last year and a half as a Structural Engineer. My role involves the design of structures, calculations, interacting with other project teams and undertaking site visits. It’s great being at Patrick Parsons because we get to work on so many projects and I am able to learn new skills from the people I work with.

What do you love most about being a Structural Engineer?

It’s a profession that is very creative, combining mathematics and physics that are applied to real life. There is an ongoing application of theories that is very interesting, you have to use your own judgment to see if the theory can applied. You also have to deal with timescales and make sure that you stick to the deadlines given. Being a structural engineer is not only about science, you also have to apply life skills to get the job done. I am constantly learning which I love and I think that even when I am 60 I’ll still keep on learning everyday.

How has Patrick Parsons supported you with your studies?

I am grateful that I was able to come to an arrangement with Patrick Parsons, so that I am able to do my PhD and still continue to work. My time is split working 2.5 days a week and the rest of the time I spend studying. They have been very supportive of my studies and Patrick Parsons have even co-funded my PhD alongside the University, which has been wonderful for me.

What are your long term career goals?

I don’t have a specific career goal. I want to keep going with one foot in academia and one in industry, as they feed each other and will help me to constantly evolve. I just want to continue to do the best I can, that’s my goal.

Chrysanthi will be completing her PhD within the next 3 years and everyone at Patrick Parsons is looking forward to celebrating with her!

Subscribe to our newsletter