Deborah Cullinan

Deborah Cullinan – Civil Engineer, Mott MacDonald

When were you at Polam?

From Year 5 to U6. I left in 2005.

What did you study at Polam?

Maths, Physics, French and Spanish

What are you doing today?

Today, I work as a Bridge Engineer or, more broadly speaking, a civil engineer at Mott MacDonald’s office in Croydon. My job varies from day to day. So far I have been involved in the assessment of highway and railway bridges to determine if they can support increased load requirements. I have carried out inspections of bridges, tunnels and culverts to see if they are still fit for purpose, and more recently I have been involved in the design of new structures, such as a slab for an oil rig in Jordan and design of a bridge-widening scheme in Nottingham.

How did Polam help you to get there?

Polam helped me by allowing me the opportunity to develop not only academically but also through a whole host of extra-curricular activities. I remember that every lunchtime there was something going on – whether it was a netball practice, the debating society or rehearsals for the next round of inter-house competitions. There were also ample opportunities to develop leadership skills either through being a house captain or taking part in activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh. These skills have been invaluable since leaving Polam. The subjects that we could select at A-Level were also very flexible and every effort was made to accommodate the combinations that we wanted into the timetable.

What’s your best memory of Polam?

Participating in the numerous inter-house competitions which varied from the swimming gala to the music competition. I’m not much of a singer but there was no escape – we all had to take part in the choir piece! We sang Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and won!

Who was you favourite teacher?

Mrs. Chipchase – she had a genuine interest and enthusiasm for teaching Maths and was interested in helping everyone to the best of their abilities. This meant the classes were very engaging; no question was too stupid and she was able to explain things clearly and understand your perspective.