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Student gains first class honours, an award, a job role and has a paper published after university success second time around

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A student from Suffolk had a paper published in a prestigious journal after a successful second stint at university.

27 year old Emmett Klipalo from Ipswich originally started a degree in civil engineering at a university in Scotland in 2014.

After leaving after his first year because ‘the class sizes were too big and I didn’t get the right level of support’ Emmett returned to his home in Ipswich to contemplate his future.

He then stumbled across an open day relating to University of Suffolk at Suffolk New College that changed his life around.

Emmett said: “When I was assessing my options I couldn’t get employment. So I went to the open day and talked to a tutor called Chris Hughes. I felt very positive about the civil engineering degree course that Chris represented and he put me in touch with a former student who worked for the Environment Agency.

“Thanks to this contact and having signed up for the course, I was able to secure a six month unpaid position with the Environment Agency.

“From there, I managed to secure a paid position. Six years later, I’ve gained a degree and I still work for the same company full time as a flood and coastal risk management advisor.

“Thanks to that one decision to go to that open event, everything suddenly fell in to place.”

Emmett was able to get his degree sponsored by the Environment Agency and was named student of the year at the end of his five year part time degree course in 2021.

Emmett continued: “Winning that prize is something I’m very proud of and I loved my time at University of Suffolk at Suffolk New College. The smaller class sizes suited me, I enjoyed the modules, the atmosphere was good, the teaching was great and I got a first class degree. I’ve recommended the programme to other people I work with.”

Towards the end of his course, it was suggested to Emmett that he put his work forward to be featured in a prestigious industry journal called MDPI ‘Buildings. It was as Special Issue of the journal called – Sustainable Hydraulic Structures: Design, Monitoring, and Management.

Emmett’s 15 page study looked at the role of friction within flood defence structures ( and it was co -authored by Dr Mohsen Besharat who is a former lecturer at University of Suffolk at Suffolk New College.

On having his paper published, Emmett said: “It was a dream come true and I’m really proud. I’d like to have more papers published in the future, I’d also like to gain incorporated engineer status form the Institute of Civil Engineers and long term I’d love to gain chartered status.

“Obviously it didn’t work out for me first time around at university, and life is sometimes like that. But I think if you have a real passion for a subject, there are lots of different avenues out there for people to pursue. So my message is, don’t give up if it doesn’t happen for you straight away. Maintain your passion, work hard and you will find a way.”

Head of marketing at Suffolk New College, Craig Shimmon, said: “It’s always a great moment for the College to hear about our former student successes and what Emmett has achieved is incredible.
We are very grateful to Emmett for saying so many nice things about us and we feel proud to have played such a positive part in his development. We look forward to hearing about even more successes from Emmett and others in the future.”

Posted 4 January 2023