Member of the Month: March 2013

Stuart A. McKenna

A member of GYP since day one, Stuart McKenna is living the dream – getting paid to stay in university!  Stuart is currently reading for a PhD in the fascinating field of Ship Recycling.  Read on to find out about this unique subject, and also Stuart’s fledgling television career…

What’s your background?

I am originally from Wishaw but moved into ‘town’ at the start of my academic career which is currently in its eighth year and counting! I studied Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering at undergraduate level and was fortunate enough to be offered a fully funded PhD at the end of my studies. Since then I have been attempting to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Ship Recycling industry with my research!


People always ask me why I chose Naval Architecture, assuming that I did so in order to join the Navy or because I like sailing, but the honest truth is at the time my department was a joint department between the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, so the prospect of being a member of 3 student unions (Strathy, GU and QMU) was too much to resist!

Tell us about your PhD.

For the last 4 years I have been reading for my PhD in the field of Ship Recycling and I can say, with certainty, that they have been great years. I have had the opportunity to travel all around the world, learn new skills, meet tons of interesting people and help contribute to the improvement of one of the most dangerous industries in the world (Google ‘Ship Recycling’ and you will see what I mean).

The motivation for me doing a PhD was the reluctance to follow my peers to Aberdeen for a well paid but boring oil job coupled with the desire to ultimately start up my own consultancy business. All through my PhD I have been making contacts, developing expertise and creating solutions which I will now strive to exploit in the near future. So if you have a ship that needs recycled give me a call.


If money and time were no object, what would you do?

I would pay someone to finish my PhD, travel the world bankrolling research projects in my name and become one of those TV professors. I was recently on the BBC’s COAST programme as a naval architecture expert and that kind of lifestyle really appealed to me.DSCF0739



Coffee: I don’t like coffee, but you can’t beat a chai latte in the Tinderbox Merchant City.

Quiet Drink: The west end of Argyle Street is bustling with tons of cool places for quiet drinks. I really like The Finnieston and Ben Nevis.

Night Out: I really recommend catching a direct flight from Edinburgh to Istanbul for the weekend as the nightlife there is unbelievable.


Why did you join GYP? Any advice for new members or those thinking about coming to their first event?

I was asked by Sara (one of the GYP co-founders) to come along to the first ever GYP drinks. At first I was a bit skeptical but after seeing what a laid back and friendly atmosphere there was, I try to regularly attend GYP events. For new members I would recommend just turning up and saying hello to the first person you meet.


What has been your favourite GYP event and why?

My Favourite GYP event was the ceilidh two years ago because it was a great mix of people and, of course, ceilidh dancing. I also enjoyed this year’s Burns Supper but unfortunately I came late and missed all the great speeches and Burns recitals.


Which upcoming GYP event are you most looking forward to and why?

I am really looking forward to the GYP summer special! Due to travel commitments I have never been able to make it to a GYP summer event, so I cannot wait to see what is in store for this year.


Are you a member of any other networking groups?

Yes, I have recently started going to events held by the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network.


You can find Stuart on Twitter and LinkedIn, and you can learn more about the University of Strathclyde at