Napameth (Meth) Phantawesak
'UC was definitely the place to be for Engineering...'
Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical and Process Engineering
PhD student, Imperial College London, UK
Meth’s motivation to study an Engineering degree was a simple but strong one.
‘I chose Engineering because of the challenge and the opportunity to solve problems that are important to our society,’ he says. ‘I wanted to be part of a team that makes people’s lives better, easier and safer.’
His passion for innovation came from a young age growing up in an Engineering-focused family.
‘My role models have always been my parents. Both my parents are in the petrochemical industry so I was exposed to engineering from a young age. Seeing how hard they are working each day to support our family and my education funding motivates me to work even harder to reach my goals.’
Meth originally came to New Zealand to attend high school at Nelson College.
‘The biggest challenge then was obviously the language barrier,’ he says. ‘My only goal was to survive a full year as I did not know very much English or the culture. I was fortunate to have such a great group of friends from Nelson College who helped me throughout the years. They were also another important factor of why I chose to stay in New Zealand.’
When it came to deciding to attend university, UC was the first choice for Meth.
‘UC was definitely the place to be for Engineering. Canterbury is a very well recognised university with world-class research facilities and many opportunities for those who choose to strive for more. I loved the student environment at UC. I wanted to do well both in and outside the classroom. UC had the perfect balance that I was looking for.’
With Chemical and Process Engineering as his first choice of study, Meth found his time at UC to be of huge benefit.
‘My degree has given me the ability to think logically as well as creatively. I enjoyed the variety of chemical engineering aspects which I was exposed to throughout my degree. It provided me an insight into what engineers are capable of doing and helped me find what I really enjoy.’
Meth was an International Student Ambassador for UC, a role that involved promoting UC and his chosen degree programme to prospective students.
‘I am grateful for the experiences that UC provided me and I want younger students to also experience the same journey I went through. Joining the International Student Ambassador programme was a great opportunity for me to give something back. It has taught me the importance of teamwork and time management. Regular meetings with prospective students and school visits greatly improved my communication skills.’
During the summer months, Meth also worked as an intern back in Thailand at PTT Global Chemical Public Co, working on eco-friendly products such as decomposable greenhouse coverings and biodegradable plastic films.
‘The balance between lectures and practical work at UC was highly beneficial to my internships with the petrochemical company in Thailand,’ he says. ‘My dream is to be working in an oil and gas industry with a strong focus on sustainability.’
After graduating, Meth continued his work with PTT Global Chemical in Thailand as a Process Engineer. He was later awarded a scholarship from the Royal Thai Government for postgraduate research in air pollution control, and went onto completing a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering and Business Management at Imperial College London.
Meth is now working towards a PhD investigating transport emissions at Imperial College London, and is well on his way to achieving his dream career in sustainable engineering.