On Thursday morning 23 June, QAHS students were invited to an Engineers Australia Conference focusing on women in STEM. This event allowed us to come together to recognise the contributions of particular leaders in the industry. We began the day by networking with engineers from different fields during breakfast and questioning them about their life experiences within their jobs. The day followed with a panel of highly regarded female engineers discussing the problems and achievements they may have faced in their careers.
The panellist included Celeste De Mezieres, Jen Charlesworth and Kirryn Crossman. Celeste is a biomedical engineer at Boeing Defence Australia and is passionate about human-centred engineering and aviation physiology. She has had a diverse amount of experiences across several aerospace platforms, but what was specifically interesting was the work she conducted with the F-18 super hornets. Her role focused on optimising the physiological performance of this jet by monitoring, analysing and enhancing the environmental control and breathing air systems.
Jen is an advisory team leader for highway and transport. She is a civil engineer who has worked with the state to deliver engineering designs for road and rail projects, working on various projects such as the pacific motorway M1. She utilised her wealth of knowledge to help the Commonwealth Games, specifically the additional roads necessary for smooth roads. Similarly, Kirryn is a roads and highways civil engineer who has taken many planning, designing and construction of transport and infrastructure projects in her career. She also assisted with the upgrade of main roads, including the M1 Varsity Lakes to Burleigh Heads and the Coomera Connector Stage 1 North.
These panellists were asked to reflect on their adventures and utilise them to answer questions about being a female in STEM fields. Throughout this questionnaire, they discussed how women who are still in the education process need to be encouraged and discussed the changes they saw in their working life such as the work-to-home life ratio becoming equal amongst males and females, giving real-life examples.
This breakfast proved insightful for many of us students seeking to pursue STEM-related fields in the future. On behalf of all the students who attended, I want to thank our sponsors, AECOM, Arup Australia Pty Ltd and GHD, for allowing us to participate in this event and giving us the opportunity to listen to these successful female engineers. We thank QAHS parent Sharon Fong for connecting us with this opportunity.
Year 12 Student