The University of Southampton

ECS Student Development 2013 – Celebrating student achievement

Published: 10 December 2013

The Head of School Fund for ECS has this year enabled students to take part in academic, research, educational and development activities around the world.

Assessing the effects of climate change on Icelandic glaciers, spreading the excitement of student enterprise competitions in Romania and Slovenia, and developing an electrical hub for a remote village in Cameroon were just some of the activities that our students were able to undertake this summer as a result of support from The Head of School Fund for ECS.

The Fund enables students in Electronics and Computer Science (ECS ) at the University of Southampton to undertake activities which enhance their personal development – these might be voluntary service, charitable or educational, or any initiative of value to the broader community, for which additional funding is required to achieve success.

The Fund is provided through the generosity of ECS alumni, in response to the annual telephone campaign and through other personal donations. In 2013, as a result of grants made from the Fund, ECS students were able to attend leading academic conferences across Europe, spend the summer on the prestigious Study China programme, and intern for Student Robotics.

Reporting on their experiences our students commented:

‘I found it moving to see how electricity makes such a difference to the lives of those in the village in Cameroon,’ said Oladipo Phillips, who along with ECS student Jarrod Zancanella took part in the University’s Cameroon Catalyst project for the Mosame Trust. ‘I was able to utilise the skills and knowledge that I picked up on my course and found the experience rewarding and exciting.’

‘Without the Fund I wouldn’t have been able to attend the conference or gain experience speaking in front of an audience on an academic subject,’ said Marc De Vos, who developed the world’s first screen-printed watch on fabric for his third-year project. As a result he was asked to attend the Smart Textiles Salon in Ghent, Belgium, for which the Fund provided the finance.

Three students used their funding for start-up competitions: Alejandro Saucedo organized the lively Startup Weekend held in Southampton, while Izidor Flajsman and Vlad Velici organized highly successful events in their home towns of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Timisoara, Romania, respectively. All three events helped spread the word about ECS to potential future undergraduate students. Vlad commented: ‘I learned a lot from organizing this, as I mostly did it myself- from building a website and doing the marketing to getting a venue and judges – not to mention planning and running the event!’ ‘The funding enabled me to organise a creative, technology focused 54 hours, non-stop event in Slovenia, Its aim was simple: to show Slovenian students that the world is a small place and that they have the power to build new things and change the environment around them through entrepreneurship,’ said Izidor. Chris Baines was able to attend DebConf in Switzerland, finding out ore about Debian, Ikiwiki and novel software such as GPG. He was also able to attend the OpenStreetMap conference in Birmingham. Edward Seabrook attended the 87th meeting of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in Berlin and was able to observe the process of the production, peer review an dpublication of standards that regulate the Internet. ‘This trip enabled me to gain an insight into the IETF that would not have been possible without attending the meeting. I am very thankful to ECS for providing me with this opportunity.’

Arinze Ekwosimba, President of the IEEE Student Chapter at ECS 2012-13, was able to take up an invitation to attend the 2nd IEEE Central European Student Branch Congress held in Opole, Poland, in May. The Congress brought together 80 engineering students and young professionals from Central Europe and neighbouring regions to discuss present and future engineering challenges, develop new skills and share experiences. ‘It was a plus for ECS to have one of its most active societies participating at an international event, helping to boost its global reputation and presence.’

Alexander Ally interned on the long-standing GLACSWEB programme, tracking the effect of climate change on glaciers. 'On the internship I was tasked with creating an interactive data visualisation tool which would enable researchers to view data more quickly and easily than they otherwise could have. The data was being used to track the movements of glaciers in Iceland. This was of great interest to me as I could see my work being used in a practical sense for real word data. To enable people to use such a tool without installing extra software on their computer I used the World Wide Web as my platform. This meant I had to hone my skills in working with technologies such as JavaScript and SVG. Technologies which are the driving force of modern application development, especially on the web. The internship gave me valuable experience in developing for real-world applications and very much helped me improve my skills for developing on the Web.

Robin Johnson had a starring role in the University Theatre Group’s production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: ‘Ultimately, the Fringe left me with a deep desire to attain the standards that, through their shows, other performers demonstrated to me in terms of their motivational determination, absolute dedication and awe-inspiring imagination. Regardless of which avenue this may be in, I left Edinburgh wanting to make my mark on the world, too.'

'We are grateful to ECS alumni for enabling our students to pursue these challenges', said Professor Neil White, Head of Electronics and Computer Science. In their grant applications our students stressed that financial support of this kind was fundamental to their ability to undertake these ambitious and often life-changing activities.'

Gifts from alumni and friends are making a real difference to ECS students.To find out how you can support ECS students, please visit or email

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