After moving from Bangladesh to study at Cambridge, Afsara Chowdhury joined our graduate scheme in 2018. Here she explains how this opportunity has helped her to explore exciting new ways to tackle climate change.
If I had to pick three words to describe the graduate programme, they would be ‘dynamic’, ‘exciting’ and ‘growth’. The energy sector is so exciting at the moment, as we make the transition to net zero. The programme allows us to make the most of being at the heart of the energy system.
We work in different teams via rotations and gain experience in roles and fields that we might not otherwise venture into, as well as getting access to great training courses. Above all, everyone I’ve come across has always been willing to help me learn and that's something I’ve found extremely valuable as a young engineer.
After maths, physics, chemistry and biology A Levels, I went on to study general engineering at university, followed by an MEng degree, also in chemical engineering. I was initially attracted to National Grid’s programme because of its strong reputation in the energy sector, as well as its commitment to inclusion and diversity. But what really stood out for me before I joined was how friendly everyone was at the assessment centre.
Everyone I’ve come across has always been willing to help me learn and that's something I’ve found extremely valuable as a young engineer.
With my background, it made sense to apply for the technical graduate role at Grain LNG for my first placement, which I did with the Functional Safety team. I did my second rotation as a graduate strategy analyst in our London office and then went back to Grain to work in the technical development and delivery team, which is where I was taken on for my first job.
Since starting in my permanent role I’ve been involved in exploring how we might integrate hydrogen into the network. I’ve also researched the transition of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the path to net zero, using technologies such as steam methane reforming and carbon capture and storage to produce blue hydrogen (hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon emissions captured as part of the process). This will ultimately accelerate the pathway to green hydrogen (hydrogen created by electrolysis, which doesn’t produce any harmful emissions).
I’m a numbers enthusiast and my role allows me to pursue that, as I can take part in plenty of calculations, plant data analysis and technical report writing. I also love learning new things and I do that every day, and with every new project. The broad experience I’m gaining will also help me to reach chartered status as a chemical engineer, which would open up opportunities for me to move into a more senior role.
In my free time I love traveling, good food, good music, good books and good TV shows. I also enjoy learning new languages; so far, I’m up to five and my goal is to increase that to seven, so I’m currently trying to master Korean and Japanese.