British Science Week is a national event that provides a platform for educators, professionals, communicators and the public to recognise and celebrate the work being undertaken in STEM related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). This year’s theme is ‘Innovating for the Future’ and, with so many Portsmouth graduates working in STEM, we want to showcase the important work they’re doing and how they are innovating for the future in their roles. 

Anisa Koci graduated from MSc Civil Engineering with Environmental Engineering in 2014 and is a Port Master Plan Projects Manager (Engineering) for Portsmouth International Port. Here Anisa tells us about STEM journey and how she’s investing her time to support the next generation of engineers.

I have always had an interest in engineering. It runs in my family and I wanted to seek the same opportunities to travel and expand my knowledge. This is how I became passionate about STEM subjects and I want young people, especially more girls, to be joining me in this.

I began studying MSc Civil Engineering with Environmental Engineering at the University of Portsmouth in 2013. The course gave me the opportunity to explore many fields and academic subjects, and through site visits, gave me an insight into the construction industry. The lecturers were very supportive when it came to job searches and applications and alongside that I had a brilliant group of fellow students who kept me inspired. We worked together as a class on coursework, job applications and we discussed new civil engineering projects for Portsmouth.

After completing my studies in 2014, I started working as a Graduate Highways Engineer for a consultancy called Paul Basham Associates. I then became a Highways Engineer within the Regeneration team at Portsmouth City Council before being promoted to Senior Project Manager (Technical). 

I moved on from the council after two and a half years to become the Port Master Plan Projects Manager (Engineering) for Portsmouth International Port and have been in this role for just over a year. My job mainly involves the management of the Port Capital Infrastructure Schemes in the marine environment, and supporting the growth and regeneration of Portsmouth International Port and the surrounding area. I direct and monitor staff in the completion of work packages, manage external consultants, and manage project staff to ensure targets are achieved.

Managing civil engineering projects is a very challenging task with big responsibilities but at the same time it is very rewarding to see the infrastructure change daily, and knowing that you have had an input.

I ensure the design and construction works are following the agreed programme, are within project budget and that risks and benefits are appropriately managed and tracked. I have progressed to managing multi million pound projects; most recently this has included the levelling and expansion of our cruise berth which has been an important investment for the city. I represent the Marine and Engineering team, and ultimately Portsmouth International Port, at stakeholder’s engagement events, assisting and carrying out consultations on scheme proposals and advising the members as necessary.  

This support also extends to my positions on the South Branch Graduate, Students and Apprentices Committee for the Institution of the Civil Engineering South Branch and as a mentor for the Employer Mentoring Programme, run by the University of Portsmouth.

Particularly seeing women in these types of roles sets a great example to the younger generation and gives you the confidence to stand out and be a successful role model.

I’m innovating for the future by investing my time and resources into a new generation of talent. During my studies I got to visit different sites and workplaces and I want to support today's students by offering the same opportunities and introducing them to the construction industry.
Anisa Koci, MSc Civil Engineering with Environmental Engineering, Port Master Plan Projects Manager, Portsmouth International Port
My passion is fed by the diversity that the maritime industry provides. Every day is different. It's challenging and I learn something new every day.
Anisa Koci, MSc Civil Engineering with Environmental Engineering (2014)
My advice is to be persistent. Take your passion and use it to drive your career and interests. Construction is challenging but very rewarding, and seeing your design go from initial drawings and ideas to a completed build is what makes everything worth it.