Michelle

Process Engineer - Analyst Consultant
Water, Waste Engineering Consulting

What did you want to be or do when you left school. How does this compare with where you are now?

Initially I was unsure of where my skills would work best in a job, but I wanted to focus on sustainable, environmental and human focused innovation. I decided to give chemical engineering a try. Working as a process engineer within water and wastewater engineering allows me to develop a sound knowledge base within these innovation areas.

What are some of the coolest things you like about working in your industry?

Designing, engineering and optimising systems which will sustainably supply water with future resilience.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Diverse tasks and projects provide multiple opportunities to acquire new skills.

What successful strategies have you used that have helped you transition to working in a non-traditional industry?

Having belief in my own capabilities, understanding my own work capacity and confidence to ask questions.

How did you get started in your career pathway and what helped you along your career journey?

My high school chemistry teacher and I discussed what my technical strengths were and aligned these with a chemical engineering degree. Not without critique or struggle, I proceeded to use my drive, focus and analytical strengths to work through challenges faced. Use any criticism or negativity you receive as a means to drive yourself forward.

What or who has influenced your career pathway?

Having a level-headed and positive mindset. “Discipline is greater than motivation” meaning to show up for yourself and put in the work, both when you do and don’t want to. Small steps are still steps forward.

In school what subjects did you enjoy most or were good at?

Chemistry and maths both for logical and methodological thinking, and problem-solving capabilities.

Are you able to provide information about your qualifications, this helps others seeking information about careers in your industry.

I studied a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Honours (Pharmaceuticals Major) at the University of Adelaide. Over a four-year duration the first year of my degree was broad and became more technical and problem-solving focused in second & third year. Final year involved an honours project called Plant Design, which required combining technical and soft skills to produce engineering in teams.

What advice would you give to others (girls/women) about following careers in non-traditional industries?

If it doesn’t challenge, you it doesn’t change you. Don’t let others’ opinions effect you, give a non-traditional career a go, and you can achieve anything you put your mind too.

And lastly, we’d love if you could share how you are making your own mark?

By influencing others to define and leverage their own strengths during a career.

Hear from other role models making their mark

Steph

National Decarbonisation & Energy Transition Senior Manager
Energy, Mining and Property