Jessica Alexander, 4th Year Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautics
What Made You Choose Your Course?
Having been involved with motorsport since I was a child. I’ve always been interested in what was going on behind the pictures on TV screens. After years of competing in karts myself, learning about how the sport works and still being fascinated by the time I left school, studying engineering at University seemed like the best way to work towards getting a career in the sport.
Studying at Strathclyde is allowing me to learn a great deal about the industry, and understand the theory behind most of what I’ve learned - and with any luck should lead to a really interesting job once I graduate.
What Are You Involved In Outside Your Studies?
Whilst at University, I have continued to compete racing karts at a national level – like the Scottish and British Championships and having good results at both against the best drivers in the UK.
I am president of Strathclyde University’s Karting Club – and team captain for the teams in the British Universities’ Karting Championship.
I am an ambassador for Motorsport Woman – a campaign set up by female drivers to encourage more girls to get involved in the sport. We work with teams in various events across the UK to create a network of girls all working to support each other – it’s pretty kick ass!
I’m also involved in the Union at Strathclyde – sitting on the Clubs and Societies Executive Committee, which is the decision-making panel for most matters relating to societies.
What Do You Hope To Do When Graduating?
I would love a job driving racing cars for a living! Obviously, that’s a bit unrealistic, but I’d love to be working as an engineer or strategist with any of the teams currently competing at a high level.
Having been racing all my life, I really can’t see myself doing anything other than competing in the sport I’ve been involved in for most of my life.
I’d love to keep involved with Motorsport Woman and continue encouraging girls to be successful in our sport – however they choose to get involved.
What’s Been Your Greatest Achievement To Date?
Winning the British Universities’ Karting Championship two years in a row was pretty cool – along with being the first girl to do so!
Throughout running the Strathclyde Karting Club, I have had the joy of captaining teams to three Scottish Student Championships, and two Newcomers’ Championships. I have also led the first Strathclyde team to the British Universities’ Championship, winning the first race in Strathclyde’s history, and coming within a mechanical failure of winning the British Uni’s 24-Hour Race.
Competing at the highest level of UK karting for 12 years has been the best experience of my life – having taught me so much and allowed me to meet some amazing people and friends for life.
How Did You Achieve This?
Hard work, time and effort. Motorsport is one of the toughest sports on its competitors – requiring an enormous amount of preparation and knowledge. One of the key points is keeping my physical fitness at the high level it needs to be – which can be challenging given the time commitment involved with racing nearly every weekend, sometimes at the other end of the country.
I also have to be prepared for the media and sponsorship side – with interviews, questions and general PR work a regular feature of my diary during the on and off-seasons.
The key to being successful is simply not taking no for an answer, working hard and never giving up.
Have You Thought Of Running In The Student Elections?
Yes, and having campaign managed (successfully) for one of the current sabbatical officers I know first-hand there’s no excitement like election excitement!