Patricia is a water engineer with a background in both the private and public water sector. She has expertise in the design of flood alleviation schemes and wastewater networks.
Her teaching and research interests are many and probably too varied:
She leads on Academic Programme Enhancement and Development for the College of Engineering and is the Academic Student Engagement Lead for the College. She is a strong advocate of student voice and partnership with students and is interested in exploring conflicts between student voice and institutional and staff resilience.
With her background in industry, she is keenly aware that the sector-wide academisation and de-contextualisation of engineering education is leading to an engineering sector that struggles to relate theory to practice.
Her main area of research is into the social impact of engineers and engineering – critiquing how the methodologies adopted by engineers can sometimes run counter to the needs of communities they serve and reinforce structures of power that maintain inequality. Civil Engineering in particular is inextricably linked up with societal change, and responsible engineering is about understanding wider environmental and social impacts of design and construction. Patricia teaches creative design modules that give students tools and techniques to find their own brand of creativity, while prompting students to consider how their individual privilege and biases impact on their design decisions.
Patricia is also exploring the use of VR in teaching and for research to improve spatial competencies and rapid evaluation and decision making strategies of students.
She is also interested in the use of slime mould (Physarum polycephalum) in optimising transport networks, how Japanese Knotweed impacts river flow dynamics, and the use of string-jammed gravel (sometimes called reversible concrete) as a replacement material for concrete.