At school, I was sure I wanted to be a doctor. I even did work experience at a hospital and thought the medical profession was the one place I could help people. It wasn’t until a career advisor suggested Engineering that I thought of going down this path. Now I have a positive impact through engineering. By using maths I’m able to have a large influence on our community whether it be through protecting the environment or generating energy for millions of Australians.
Recently, I was lucky enough to go to Nepal and work on earthquake relief projects. With a team of four engineers we were able to design and build an improved cook stove for a rural Nepalese village. It was such a rewarding experience as I was able to share some of my knowledge whilst learning so much from a different culture. We had to overcome challenges such as language barriers, poverty, poor funding and lack of resources to deliver our projects. It was humbling to come back home and remember how lucky we are to live in Australia.
In my role as a Chemical Engineer I use maths, chemistry and physics to solve real world problems. I’ve been working in the oil and gas industry, designing and installing an offshore desalination water system for people working on oil platforms. This involves taking seawater and turning it into fresh water suitable for drinking. I’m also working on my honours thesis, studying how environmentally friendly, plant based chemicals such as manuka honey can efficiently inhibit corrosion on pipelines.
Engineering can be quite a male dominated field. In the past I’ve had male colleagues tell me the only reason I’ve got my job is because I’m a woman, and that female engineers are offered more opportunities than men. Although it upsets me to hear this I know it’s not the case, and the industry is moving to become a more inclusive place for women. Everyone needs to work together to build strong teams that embrace a diverse range of people and skills.
I have always enjoyed learning but there have been times when I’ve struggled to understand different concepts. I used to get frustrated with myself and worried if I couldn’t pick up a certain skill. Moving through high school, into university and work I’ve learnt that it’s OK to not know everything straight away. I have worked on changing my mindset, and by working hard and practising I’ve been able to understand concepts I had previously struggled with.