Skip to main content

Macarena Almenta is a PhD student in the School. 

Here she tells us what it's like to study for a PhD...

Macarena Almenta - PhD Student 

Where did you do your undergraduate degree and what did you study?

In 2011 I graduated from Seville University in Spain with an equivalent of an MEng degree in Industrial Engineering, specialising in Energy Systems.

Why did you decide to do a PhD and why did you choose Queen's?

Before starting my PhD I worked as a research assistant in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen's, developing waste heat recovery systems. I decided to apply to do a PhD at Queen's because I enjoyed the work so much. I found a project in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science which really appealed to me.

What is your research about?

I am a second year PhD student in the EPIC (Energy, Power and Intelligent Control) Cluster. My research topic involves looking at how domestic load participation can be used to make the electricity network more efficient, secure and sustainable by fully utilizing the existing infrastructure and facilitating integration of low carbon technologies.

What are the best and worst things about doing a PhD?

Doing a PhD involves a lot of good things, like travelling to conferences, meeting new people, learning and working with people on very challenging and important topics.

What would your typical day as a PhD student involve?

A typical day as a PhD student consists of coming to work around 9am, reading recent publications, developing models, and going home around 6pm. One day a week I go to German classes and to the gym at Queen's (PEC).

What about Queen's and Belfast in general – what is it like to study here?

Queen's provides you with a lot of opportunities and a lot of support. I really enjoy studying here.

Would you recommend doing a PhD? If so, why?

I think that doing a PhD is a very important decision and you really need to like the topic because you will be working on it for 3 years.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I think I see myself working in industry in topics related to energy management.