“I think that by studying at UNSW, the professors and lecturers have guided me, and the opportunities I’ve been able to participate in have given me confidence that I can find a place in an industry that fits my goals”.
Jessie Lum is a 3rd year student studying a double degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical Engineering) and Bachelor of Science (Physics) at UNSW. We spoke to Jessie who recently won a Dean’s award for 2021 from the Faculty of Engineering. She informed us about her thrill for the challenge in evaluating mechanical systems and her advice for students planning to study mechanical engineering.
It is exciting to have my academic achievements recognised, but it is also a great confidence booster and that my time and work over the last year has been spent well.
I currently study a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. I chose UNSW because of the facilities that are available to students to extend their skills outside of the classroom, particularly the Makerspace Network.
I have always enjoyed problem solving, both theoretical and practical ones. It is rewarding to not only learn how to evaluate and predict the behaviour of different mechanical and physical systems but also to experiment with them in real life. I think my favourite courses so far have been first year Design and Manufacturing and third year Quantum Mechanics. Design and Manufacturing was where I started to learn about machining and how parts are made in industry. I am currently taking Quantum Mechanics and while it has been challenging, I think it is rewarding to slowly understand more of our model for the world on the smallest of scales.
I currently hold the Defence Women in STEM Undergraduate Scholarship, awarded by the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). While part of it helps to relieve some of the financial pressures and focus on studying, but it also has provided an opportunity to learn more about one of the possible career paths after graduation.
I am currently part of the Sunswift Racing team and my favourite thing to do on campus right now is to spend time at our workshop or the Makerspace and assemble various components of the car. I have recently learnt to use the metal lathe and I am learning the metal mill, and nothing quite beats the late-night workshop vibes!
I think getting involved in some of the many student projects or societies available at university can be one of the best ways to not only learn many skills outside of your coursework, but an amazing way to meet many like-minded people.
Both of my degrees are the most flexible core degrees in the fields of engineering and science, they allow you to later pursue opportunities in a wide range of fields or branch into further post-graduate degrees and research positions. As long as we continue to improve current engineered systems and have the urge to understand the way our world functions, both areas will remain relevant and important.
I have not set a clear plan in stone as I have just reached halfway but I hope to gain more experience in various fields of research and development such as renewable energy or space technologies before I graduate and possibly pursue something down that avenue. I think that by studying at UNSW, the professors and lecturers have guided me, and the opportunities I have been able to participate in have given me confidence that I can find a place in an industry that fits my goals. In the next few years, I am looking at going into research and development and hopefully contribute my skills to creating change, whether it be in renewables and sustainability or space exploration!
Everyone should follow what they are passionate about, and the feeling of being outside your comfort zone in a new environment is a challenge to prove yourself!
Get involved wherever you can! While lectures and classes are important, challenging your skills in different ways, whether it be organising or attending society events or being part of team designing and constructing your own designs are places where you can meet people and put test your skills.