A resourceful chemical engineer

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Unlike the rest of her family, graduate chemical engineer Katie Marshall has sought work in the mining industry in Western Australia and encourages more women to join her.

“When I was in high-school, I had never even considered the possibility of working in the resources sector,” Katie said.

“It was such a foreign concept, especially with me being a girl. Looking back, I think we can do more to show young females that there are jobs in this industry that they would enjoy.”

Katie said engineering was a challenging degree, but it had been an obvious choice for her as she enjoyed STEM subjects, particular science and maths and had a penchant for problem-solving.

“Engineering is very creative as it gives you the chance to think outside the box and come up with solutions that don’t yet exist,” she told Mandurah’s Coast Radio.

“You also can research and discover brand new ideas or pursue ideas further. I chose chemical engineering because I really liked working with processes.”

At university she received Alcoa’s Bev Corless Memorial Scholarship, an Engineering Excellence Scholarship from Curtin University, an AINSE Winter School Scholarship, and interned with Rio Tinto and Alcoa.

Katie immersed herself in the world of engineering for some years, also getting involved with Robogals, Engineers without Borders and as a STEM ambassador.

The 22-year-old is now a graduate chemical engineer (calcination) with Alcoa Australia’s Wagerup alumina refinery in WA. Katie encourages other women to consider working in traditionally male-dominated industries like the resources sector, as it’s been nothing but positive.

“I do work mostly with men, but I have found all of them more than willing to teach me and include me,” she said.

“Whether it be taking the time to step me through some piping, or chatting around the lunch table.”

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