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Judith Harvey, 1997, aged 23

Now: PhD research on road damage mechanics at Cambridge University.

Qualifications: MEng, ACGI.

Winning paper: Vacuum drainage to accelerate submarine consolidation.

Then: I had just started at Cambridge. The winning paper was based on a final year MEng project at Imperial College.

Afterwards: Continued with my doctorate research at Cambridge and - coming from St Lucia - like to spend my summers back home.

Professional highs: Summer work on a St Lucian road project, and doing the undergraduate research programme at Imperial.

On the downside: Waiting to know whether I could get a scholarship to continue studying.

Did winning have an impact on your career? I appreciated the opportunity to attend a geotechnical conference, meeting other engineers and viewing tunnelling work on the associated site visit in Madrid.

How did you spend the prize money? A flight home.

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