Christine completed her studies in Taiwan, the US and Australia. She holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from The University of Sydney and a Bachelors from National Chiao Tung University. She has spent most of her career in the defence and telecommunications industries, and worked on a range of project across telco, munitions, Army, Navy, UAV, Rail, and Comms.
1. What is your current job title and function?
Christine is a Senior Systems Engineer at Thales Australia and a Board Director at The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering. She is currently working in a team at Thales building an open architecture integrated communications and computing system, leads the Specialty Engineering capability and is the engineering liaison for the Remote Weapon Station.
2. Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I have always enjoyed Math and Physics as a student and wanted to pursue a career where I can have a positive impact on the society. Engineering is exciting, challenging, and offers so many different pathways to a successful and rewarding career. When I graduated from high school, I had to choose between Medicine, Architecture and Engineering. I chose engineering because of the wide and diverse career paths it offers.
3. What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
I’d say the Hawkei project, where we designed and built a 7-tonne protected vehicle for the Army, and the ScanEagle UAS project, where we integrated an unmanned aerial system capability to the Navy fast frigates. I also enjoyed working on a project where I led the assessment of radiation safety on a munitions manufacturing site in Benalla. Knowing that your work can impact the safety of your colleagues is a responsibility I didn’t take lightly.
4. Why are you an Engineers Australia member?
EA provides a platform to expand your professional network, earn recognition and grow the soft skills that are often important to building a successful career. I’ve met many people in the EA network that have provided me great advice throughout my career, many of them I’m now good friends with.
5. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you like to have with you?
A solar-powered tablet with an unlimited supply of e-books and movies, warm camping gear with a pair of hiking boots, and an airplane equipped with its own pilot. Is that too greedy?
6. What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
There’s many issues facing the engineering profession. Right now what concerns me the most is the role younger engineers can play in the future of this profession, and the lack of interest in the Australian public in engineering and STEM.
7. If the whole world was listening, what would you say?
Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Leave the world in a state you would leave to your children.
8. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?
Teleportation (so I could have zero commute to work). Or more realistically, persuasion and persistence.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Travelling, running, outdoor activities, real estate, macroeconomics, learning new skills and ideas, telling jokes to my colleagues that aren’t really funny.
10. What is the best piece of advice your parents gave you?
My parents never actually said this to me, but they’ve raised me to be responsible for my own actions and decisions. They gave me a lot of trust and autonomy when it came to big life decisions like choosing a major, choosing a career, moving to different cities or countries on my own, etc. It was always understood that I am responsible of my own decisions and their outcomes. It taught me to focus on the important things and consider the different impacts before making a big decision.
11. What makes you laugh?
Adam Hills, my mum taking selfies, and videos with dogs and puppies.
Image: Christine Chen, 2016.