With both parents working in STEM fields, Kate’s curiosity in STEM was instilled from a young age. Throughout school, she always found herself intrigued by how the physical world around us works. But, it was when she was at high school, that she was truly inspired to think about a future in technology.
“My passion for innovation was sparked in year 9, when I was given the opportunity to work on a team project constructing solar panel back packs,” said Kate. “Constructing a working, albeit faulty, solar panel that could charge a phone battery was a sensation of inspiration that I will never forget, and taught me that through technology so many things are possible with the right knowledge.”
In search of a place for her newly found passions to flourish, Kate gravitated towards ANU. “The university campus itself feels like a vibrant community with interesting people, diverse study spots, sporting facilities and food options that make every day exciting,” said Kate.
Leaving her home and family based in Victoria, Kate’s excitement to pursue her studies in Canberra at ANU, overcame the angst of moving away from home. Finding comfort in making connections with other students who have also left their home towns, and being immersed in the university environment, made the transition smoother.
“Living on campus has been the best welcoming experience as it has allowed me to connect with so many other students and gain a sense of independence,” she said.
Women in engineering
The gender gap in engineering is a confronting reality many female-identifying students face, and learning to navigate a male-dominated space can feel intimidating. “Being one of the few girls in my engineering courses is sometimes a deflating feeling and one of the biggest challenges I am still overcoming is the sense of intimidation that comes with these experiences,” said Kate. “However, I have been inspired by my female course conveners and colleagues, and the prospect of encouraging more women to get involved in STEM to bridge this gender gap.”
“My first year definitely challenged me, but allowed me to grow and confirm my passions and interest for engineering,” said Kate. It has been great meeting like-minded students through student societies and group projects, and these connections have helped me out whenever I feel as though I am out of my depth.”
Kate is a member of the ANU Engineering Student Association and the Fifty/50 club; an organisation that promotes gender equity in STEM at ANU. By participating in these student-led groups, she has been able to build social connections with people and to learn about their university experiences.
By doing a double degree program (Bachelors of Engineering and Development Studies), Kate is also able to combine her passions of science and technology with her interest in wellbeing and sustainability.
“Studying at CECS should not limit your growth in other fields,” said Kate. “Studying development studies alongside engineering has given me a refreshing perspective of the future of engineering and how it can be implemented to approach real world problems.”