Can you tell us about how you got into engineering?
It is intimidating to select a course at university when, typically, you have not experienced the profession. Consequently, having had some life changing surgeries that influenced my passion for helping others, my initial goal was to have the same positive impact on other people’s lives, and I was looking into studying medicine. I also loved French, mathematics, physics, and chemistry subjects at school, and the skills I learnt in these subjects all seemed applicable to the career path of becoming a surgeon. Little did I know that during a typical school day in my all-girls physics class, an inspiring female student visiting from the University of Queensland would change my perspective. She briefly explained the various avenues of engineering, and that is when the penny dropped. Although I loved helping people, I realised my appetite for challenges and problem solving was more prominent. Why help one person at a time when you can impact thousands! Engineers get their inspiration from the world around them, problem solving across all scenarios and tackling new and complex challenges every day. This truly resonated with me.
Can you explain the various pathways and what you found surprising about the diversity of the profession?
Engineering pathways are unique to every individual. Whether it’s the more theoretical approach of an academic qualification, or learning an engineering trade in industry, each pathway is a valuable learning experience. Whatever your circumstances, there are different routes to suit different people. It is this diversity of thought, experiences, background, and potential career options that makes the engineering profession unique and surprising. There is no one right way to solve a problem; therefore, diversity is fundamental to collaborative problem solving. Without diversity and collaboration, engineers could not do what they do best.
What inspired you to join the committee? And what do you hope to achieve by joining?
I wish I knew the name of the woman who came and inspired me in my physics class because if it were not for this visit, I never would have changed my university application just two weeks before the due date. This altered my future, so it’s my turn to give back and hopefully have the same impact on someone else. By joining this committee, I want to help others find their engineering passion, challenge themselves and embrace the profession. Engineering is truly anything you want it to be, and I hope to inspire and empower other young people to believe in themselves and believe in this incredible field.
What advice would you give to engineering graduates who may be in a similar position to yourself?
The advice I always give anyone in my field is to shoot for the stars, persevere and do not settle. Surround yourself with a support network who really believe in you, value you, and can help to motivate you to not give up. Don’t settle for anything less than you deserve and desire. Yes, you will need to work hard but if this is something you truly want, I have no doubt you will get wherever you want to be. The possibilities in engineering are endless, and so are your career opportunities!