BE Petroleum Engineering (Hons 1)
Congratulations on winning the university medal, how do you feel?
Thank you for the recognition! To be honest, winning the university medal was not my ultimate goal in university. Starting from my foundation year, my sights were set on being a high achiever. This can probably be attributed to the way I was brought up and to always try to be the best I can. Thankfully, I was in a position to win the medal and quite frankly, it feels great. I believe that it was an accomplishment commensurate with the work that I put in, and the feeling that I got when looking at my transcripts was unparalleled. It was a mixture of being proud of myself, knowing that I made my family proud, and knowing that this is hopefully a key to a brighter future.
Why did you choose to study petroleum engineering at UNSW?
I’ll split this question up into different parts. To start with, engineering in general has always fascinated me as a result of my upbringing. The ability to think outside the box and solve complex problems that are present in our world today is a driving motivator behind my interest. Growing up in a rapidly developing world showed me that we as humans are advancing at an unprecedented rate.
Therefore, this naturally piqued my interest and drove me towards engineering. Furthermore, I knew that Saudi Arabia was at the forefront of exporting energy and therefore fueling much of the world’s advancements. Being able to take part in that revolution is a privilege for me. As a result, I tried to seek out the strongest university in this field, and one of the most internationally recognized ones was UNSW, which is why I chose to pursue my degree here.
What did you like about your degree and what were your favourite classes?
I enjoyed many parts of my degree. One of the best parts was being able to be taught by and collaborate with some incredible people in the hydrocarbon industry. Many of our lecturers were greatly accomplished professionals in their fields, and it was reflected by the way that they taught. Gaining this knowledge from them was a great opportunity for me. Furthermore, being able to pursue industrial training in both Saudi Aramco and Delft University in the Netherlands had a big impact on my professional development and has helped me gain insight into the future of our industry. In relation to the future of our industry, some of my courses, including Reservoir Characterization taught us cutting-edge technologies and theory that has transferred nicely into my professional career. Furthermore, all three of my reservoir engineering courses helped build the theoretical foundation that I have in this field today.
Did you hold a scholarship and what did it mean for you?
Yes, I was lucky enough to hold a full-ride scholarship to UNSW sponsored by Saudi Aramco, which is the largest energy company in the world. I say lucky because I was greatly attracted to petroleum engineering, so being able to have the opportunity to study it and work for Aramco in the future is a privilege.
Therefore, not only did it mean that I felt successful, but it also meant that I had one foot in the door in terms of success, thanks to the company and their generosity to sponsor students like me.
What were your favourite things to do in or around UNSW and how can students make the most out of the UNSW experience?
I’ve actually been excited to answer this question ever since I received the invitation for this interview. I lived in New College Village for my first three years of university, and was therefore always on campus meeting people, studying, and just enjoying the scenery wherever I was. My favourite thing would probably have to be getting coffee either at Tyree building or the main library, sitting either on a table or on the warm grass, and relaxing. If I was seeing friends, there would be no better place to see them than at Arc-sponsored activities, such as the international night markets. Some of my fondest memories were there at the Middle Eastern Food and Culture Society. I believe students can make the most of their time at UNSW by not being afraid to take risks. I define risks as anything that can help improve your quality of life at UNSW. This includes approaching societies, potential friends, and professors. The confidence to take smart risks can greatly improve your experience at the university.
What challenges did you face while studying and what would you have done differently?
To be quite frank, the biggest challenge I would say is having a decent work-life balance. At times, university can feel very overwhelming both mentally and emotionally. It is very easy to convince yourself that you do not know what you are doing, which can facilitate giving up. The key to combatting challenges like this is to understand that you are not alone. In fact, even the professors putting the workload on you only want the best for you. Therefore, reaching out to available outlets like a friend or university-provided services can greatly ease the challenges that students are going through. Furthermore, it is very important in challenging times to take a step back and reflect in the third person. Once you do that, you will realize that the problems you are facing are likely only in the moment. I’m a firm believer that people often come out of hardships stronger and more resilient.
What is the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?
The most valuable thing I took away from UNSW is to never let a good opportunity go to waste. My definition of opportunity is quite broad. An opportunity can be a chance to go out and meet new people, or to network with a lecturer, or to study the hardest you possibly can for exams to ensure that you excel. Your degree can be a huge key to a bright future if you take advantage of it. It is important to realize that capitalizing on opportunities is not just to get good grades. Rather, it is to have a good balance in life and to finish university knowing that you have fulfilled everything you wanted.
What do you think is the relevance of your degree and why do you think it exists?
Despite being a relatively niche subject, petroleum engineering is critical to meeting the world’s increasing energy demands. The hydrocarbon industry, which is the focus of petroleum engineering, is the 3rd largest global industry, which underscores the importance of producing high-quality engineers at institutions such as UNSW.
What are your plans after completing your degree? How do you think your studies at UNSW will help in your career aspirations?
My plan after completing my degree is relatively straightforward. Thanks to my scholarship, I was able to get a job at Saudi Aramco, which is the biggest energy company in the world, and the biggest company in the world by revenue. My success in the job will hopefully be a result of the high-quality education that we received at UNSW, since many of the lecturers are accomplished professionals in their field with many years of cumulative experience.
Can you share something about the minerals and energy industry that might interest someone considering studies and a career in this industry? How do you see the industry evolving?
The minerals and energy industry play a vital role globally. The industry is important for the economy and it is crucial on every aspect of our lives. This industry involves a lot of travelling to many different countries which may attract the interest of someone to pursue it. I believe the industry will evolve over the next few years taking into consideration the impact of climate change.
How do you think more women can fill the talent gap in the minerals and energy industry?
In general women are under-represented in engineering. Something that I found can be incentive for women to join are more scholarship opportunities for them to allow them to explore their passion more freely. From personal experience, this has helped me, and I am sure it’ll help other women fulfill their aspirations as well.
What advice would you give to a new/future student on how to excel at your degree?
Doing well in my degree personally does not only include achieving high grades. It also means finishing university being more mature, cultured, and more educated than when I originally started. I think it is crucial for any student starting their degree to surround themselves with a group of people they trust. This can be either friends, families, a pen pal, or anything in-between.
Furthermore, it is incredibly important to stay on top of your studies. This is not just to get good grades, but it is also to build a foundation for your work ethic and to build the critical skills required of any good engineer.