Stem profile - Ella Senior


Former RAF air cadet Ella with her mother Francis Senior. Image credit Mark Senior

Officer Cadet Ella Senior, a former Cadet Corporal with 127 (City of Wakefield) Squadron, shares her STEM story:

She says: “I am currently a Royal Air Force Engineering Officer sponsored student at Welbeck, the Defence Sixth Form College and an Arkwright Scholar.

“Recently I have visited the Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall, London with some Ukrainian students from the Kyiv Military Lyceum, been on an adventurous training exercise at Halton near Lancaster and had lectures from some military personnel on a wide range of activities.

“At Welbeck, I study maths, physics and computer science all at A-level and I want to go to university to study either mechanical engineering or computer science.

“To get into Welbeck, I had to pass the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre at RAFC Cranwell, which included fitness testing, maths and physics test, and aptitude testing. The staff at my squadron were very helpful and supported me through it, helping me with interview preparation and getting ready for selection.

“I was very lucky to find out about Welbeck. I went to the Big Bang Fair in Edinburgh when I was in Year 7 and met some ‘Welbexians’ at the stand for the college. I researched more from home, decided what I wanted to do and never changed my mind!

“I really enjoy the ethos and camaraderie at the college with a similar sense of community that is found within the military. As we are all living at the college, we get to spend a lot of time together going to the gym, out onto the fields to play sports, into the local area or to just sit in the common room.

“I am an Arkwright scholar, sponsored by the Royal Air Force. I have just started my second year of the scholarship, and so far I have been to the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London for the awards ceremony, to Gilwell Scout Camp with other RAF scholars on a leadership course, taken part in the Deutsche Bank 24 hour hackathon At the latter, I took the lead on designing a new app for the bank!.

“I have a mentor as part of the scholarship programme and am lucky enough to be mentored by an Air Commodore.

By far the best part of my scholarship was the Red Arrows’ Connect Day held at RAF Scampton, where we got to meet the pilots, talk to the engineers and see the team flying their world-renowned jets!

“To get an Arkwright Scholarship, I had to get my old school accredited so that I could apply. This included sitting in meetings about the scholarship, usually with one or two senior members of staff and sending lots of emails. I had to apply online, and this application was then marked. There is then a 2-hour theoretical engineering exam, which tests your creativity and knowledge of practical and sophisticated engineering solutions. The next stage is an interview at a university. I went to Lancaster University for my interview and had four interviewers, two engineers and two teachers.

“I was lucky enough to get the Royal Air Force as my sponsors. I have had some awesome experiences with them!

If you are thinking about joining a STEM related career, go for it! There are so many opportunities, especially within the cadets, to expand your knowledge and set you up for a career in STEM.

“Talk to your staff and other cadets as they can be a great source of knowledge. Many people I have met through the cadet forces have helped me on my journey, from the staff at 127 (City of Wakefield) Squadron to cadets across the corps - so many people helped me. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today, without them.

“My best bit of advice: Never let anyone convince you, that you can’t do it. Had I listened to the cynics, I wouldn’t be writing this article and I wouldn’t have experienced half of the cool stuff I have done!

The sky’s the limit!”

Link to Welbeck 6th Form College -

Link to Arkwright Engineering Scholarships -

Air Cadet Magazine

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Air Cadet Magazine

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