Seven questions with Mohamed Afify
10 July 2018
This week we meet Mohamed Afify, third year MEng Mechanical Engineering with Business Finance student who recently won the Project of the Year and Best Newcomer Project awards at UCL's 2018 UCL Volunteering Awards Ceremony for his work on UCL Impactive.
Why are you interested in Mechanical Engineering and Business Finance, and what do you plan to do in the future?
The combination between both subjects in this degree has been very captivating as it gives the best of both worlds. You get exposed to the complex engineering concepts without missing out on what the business world is looking for. Over the past years, my passion for design and 3D modelling has been ignited, especially when devising novel mechanisms that haven't been there before. Besides, my interest in finance grew even further. The flexibility behind the course and its career prospects has been the main reason behind choosing the course. I am currently interested in management consulting, which will allow me to utilise the skillset gained from the engineering modules, as well as the business finance background.
What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?
Founding UCL Impactive last year! This is a student-led initiative in collaboration with UCL's Volunteering Service Unit (VSU) which empowers people with disabilities. It is a volunteering project where engineering students tackle challenges that people with disabilities face during their everyday life through designing and building customised equipment/accessories, so they can enjoy a more independent life. I believe this is the only university-level project of its type and would love to spread the word about that to inspire others to give back to the community. It all started off when I was walking in Sainsbury's and I spotted a woman in her wheelchair who was hanging her heavy grocery bag around her neck because she needed her hands to be free to move her wheelchair around. I was inspired by what I saw and was determined to challenge the status quo - so I started Impactive.
I am currently the project leader where I first started by completing logistics with the VSU to set it up. It was a challenge at first, seeing that the project's nature is different from the normal volunteering projects at universities but we managed to land the Project of the Year award and Best Newcomer Project at the 2018 UCL Volunteering Awards Ceremony.
Our integrated engineering teams have completed some interesting projects including a wheelchair side support for a woman with Multiple Sclerosis, an umbrella holder customised for a specific wheelchair and a mechanism fitted to the frame of a house front door to help an old lady move her tri-walker and oxygen cylinder up the front stairs and into the house. We are always on the hunt for new volunteers so message our Facebook page if this looks interesting!
Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL? (Quiet study spaces, coffee shops, shortcuts around campus, interesting events, gigs, pubs)
My favourite is the Wilkins Terrace, which got renovated recently this year. I have been shocked by the number of people who never knew that it exists. It is perfect for when the weather is good and actually always quiet and empty. I hope it stays like this after this article….
Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:
- Southbank has always been one of my favourite spots! Whether you are there for dinner or just for a walk, it will not disappoint.
- Watching a football game even if you are not a fan is always a good idea. The atmosphere is literally electrifying!
- The classic day out in the park.
If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?
People come up with magnificent ideas but they don't necessarily take it forward. Some are anxious and many are afraid of failure. I feel this is also the case with initiating new student-led volunteering projects at UCL. If I was Provost for the day, I would put together a workshop to encourage students to come up with new ideas for volunteering projects and start developing them. There is a huge room for these types of projects and the difference they bring to the community is just astounding.
Who inspires you and why?
It would definitely be my parents as I owe everything to them. They have been through numerous tough situations to support me to become the person I am today. They have taught me the essence of seizing opportunities, never giving up and that hard work always pays off but you just need to keep pushing.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
Apparently, a lot of people are surprised whenever they find out that I sing. I sang in my high school graduation ceremony, as well as a charity event at UCL this year. It is actually very surprising how practice can make huge improvements as I remember my music teacher used to tell me that I can't sing!
UCL Impactive is currently recruiting student volunteers. You can find more about the voluntary group, and the open roles, in this document.
If you are interested in being a Section Lead and want to get involved, please fill in this form by 17 July 2018 so that UCL Impactive can contact you. Students from all disciplines, including non-engineers, are welcome to apply.