Jake Harding

Starting with an equal mix of engineering, mathematics and physics, Jake is following a growing passion for physics - which will lead to him studying it as a single subject in his final year.

A natural decision

Having researched and visited centuries-old, established universities, it was Lancaster’s distinctive Natural Sciences programme that soon caught Jake Harding’s attention. “It was almost as if I could choose whatever I wanted to study at Lancaster,” he says. “They offered me a much more flexible programme compared to other universities, who offered subjects and options that I had little interest in. Lancaster is the friendliest, most progressive and ambitious university of the ones I visited, and they made me feel very welcome.”

Since arriving at University, Jake has also greatly appreciated the help and support he has received from the friendly staff. “I have had to change my module choices several times, but Moira was very helpful and chased departments to sort things out for me at very short notice,” he says. “More recently, Keith Davidson gave me lots of useful advice regarding how to apply for PhDs.”

Useful skills

Jake is grateful for the skills that he has gained during his degree, which he feels will be invaluable for his future career. “Tight and frequent coursework deadlines allowed me to gain the skills of project management and good time management,” he explains. “Administrating group projects also allowed me to gain experience in managing research and people, and I found the skills in analytical thinking and use of maths invaluable. In addition, I find the ability to produce reports with clarity and brevity particularly useful.”

Jake is keen to stress the importance of pathway choices to prospective students. “Make sure to study maths,” he recommends. “Being able to study pure maths alongside other more practical sciences has made my life so much easier.  If you want flexibility and friendly staff then I feel a Lancaster degree is for you!”

Excellent facilities

Jake is also appreciative of the facilities that are available to students at Lancaster. “I have used both the old and new engineering labs,” he says. “I enjoy applying ideas from lectures in the real world on projects; I want to see how everything fits together.” In addition, Jake enjoys the comfort of the PC Teaching Hub situated in Bowland. “I spend most of my time on campus in between lectures in there as it is open and airy.”

For Jake, Lancaster is an ever-developing university, constantly adapting to modern demand. “The environment strikes the perfect balance between high academic attainment and a relaxed atmosphere,” he says. “The facilities, such as the new library and Engineering building, are fantastic and constantly modernising and improving.”

Plans for the future

By taking multiple subjects simultaneously, Jake was able to explore a range of useful areas in scientific research, whilst discovering which one to pursue as a career. “I’d like to take Cosmology further, as I think it is one of the most philosophical and existentially rewarding areas of my degree,” he says. “It tackles the big questions, such as addressing how the universe began and how it will end. Also, both of my lecturers so far for this stream have been truly inspiring, and I hope to go on to a Cosmology PhD as a result.”

Time spent at Lancaster has encouraged Jake to broaden his career options. “I’d now like to go on to be an academic and lecturer,” he says. “The liberal environment at Lancaster has convinced me that this is an environment that I could see myself working in.” Studying Natural Sciences in particular has given Jake an opportunity to experience work of this kind. “As part of my degree, I have been able to be part of group work and collaborative research projects, and have had the opportunity to teach in local schools through Lancaster University’s Students’ Union,” he says. “This tied in nicely to me taking a mathematical education theory module, which I was able to critically apply very successfully according to the supervising teacher.”