As a professional engineer, I aspire to become more involved with community service and help support more students who wish to become a future engineer.
We speak to Kristy Leung and Jack Wang, two budding engineers from University of Auckland and recipients of the 2015 Beca scholarship on what's on the horizon.
Where do you think the future of engineering is heading? What do you think is possible?
Kristy: The most attractive attribute of a student heading into the industry will no longer be their academic grade but their creative potential and communication skills. With the rapid development of modeling software, many design and calculation work engineers do presently will soon be easily accomplished by computers. In the context of consultancies, an engineer’s role will primarily be the bridge between the technical solutions derived from machines and their clients. The ability to communicate effectively, translate technical jargon into everyday language and possess strong interpersonal skills to build lasting relationships with clients are key and will be even more important for all individuals in the years ahead.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of the boundaries of what is possible. The rate of innovation and development of technology is as terrifying as it is exhilarating. As such, I believe anything imagined, with a scientific spin, can be made a reality. For this reason, having the willingness to accept change and to adapt will be essential indeed.
Jack: With the forever increase in the demand for energy, new sustainable sources of energy will needed to be found and integrated. I believe in the near future renewable energy sources, smarter and more efficient engineering designs would be the crucial solution. Therefore, we need to be prepared for these new changes and equip ourselves as engineers with growing knowledge bases and backgrounds in this new frontier. Though this may seem as an extremely challenging mission, but this will be a magnificent opportunity for us, the new generation of engineers to explore what is never thought of and develop new creative resolutions. We are heading into a century with revolutionary changes, I’m confident that our existing power grid, infrastructure, and transportation will change. Becoming an engineer is a great way to contribute to the community, hence I encourage more students to embark on this journey of becoming an engineer and help make a difference.
What do you consider to be the role of engineering in our community?
Kristy: The role of engineering should always be to improve our community’s way of life and to ensure what is delivered is, above all else, safe to use. In many ways, our community is our ultimate client. Whilst on paper the client may be a company, an organisation or the government, the governing design decisions made are based on public perception and needs. Respecting the cultural values and heritage of the client and the community our solutions affect is therefore of utmost importance.
Jack: Everything that makes a part of our comforting daily routines has the marks of the hard working engineers. Engineers are the artisans who makes thoughts and ideas become a reality. Though there are countless sub-branches of the engineering disciplines, nevertheless they all share the common goal to improve our quality of life. Engineers take pride in their designs and always finds the best possible means to meet the needs of the community while respecting the cultural values and our environment.
What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations for you as a professional engineer?
Kristy: My time at Beca has exposed me to an exciting career path in the Buildings sector. I have had the opportunity to work on various projects including Middlemore Hospital laboratories, University of Auckland Science and Engineering buildings and site visits to the Auckland International Airport, genset testing and various construction tours. Looking ahead, I aspire to becoming an engineer with a strong technical base then work towards a client facing role in consultancy. As I gain more experience, I hope to help the development of green buildings gain more traction in New Zealand.
A dream of mine is for all girls in New Zealand to be encouraged, instead of questioned, by their parents and teachers when they consider studying engineering. This will involve breaking down barriers, stereotypes and showing people the possibilities and opportunities this career presents. As part of the University of Auckland Women in Engineering Network (WEN) leadership team this year, I am excited to be able to work towards seeing this dream become a reality in our promotion of engineering to schools across Auckland as well as through the events we organise for high school students and their parents.
I am also looking forward to maintaining the connections I establish in these years at university and continue to be a mentor for WEN students as a professional engineer.
Jack: I hope to engage in a variety of projects during my engineering career which will create opportunities for others and also contribute to our community. At the same time, I’d like to further develop my engineering skills through different working opportunities and take on more responsibilities. As a professional engineer, I aspire to become more involved with community service and help support more students who wish to become a future engineer.