What sparked your interest in engineering?

I have always been interested in STEM and in grade 10 I had the opportunity to tour the hypersonic shock tubes at UQ and raved about it for weeks which set me on a path of engineering. I still had no idea what I wanted to major in – looking through the list of disciplines at UNSW I came across mining engineering which I had never heard of before. I spoke to a family friend in the industry and he set me up to have lunch with two women he worked with. They told me how mining engineering would offer me international opportunities, a variety of career directions, and the ability to work on interesting large-scale projects and be involved in an industry at the base of Australia’s and the global economy. But most of all 30+ years into their career they were still incredibly passionate about what they were doing, and I wanted that in my future. In fact, I have never met a mining engineer who has not found something they love and enjoy. 

I also went to information days at UNSW. I actually went to the mechanical engineering session and my mum attended the mining engineering session – she came back saying “Damn, this is cool, I should have done this!” 

What kind of subjects did you study in your degree? 

First year is quite shared across all the engineering courses, it includes a lot of general maths and physics, some broad engineering project courses, and first year electives. For these electives you can choose more mining specific topics like geology or an intro to mining but you don’t have to. In second year, there is more maths and physics and I also started getting exposed to broad concepts applicable to mining such as minerals processing. Third year is where it starts to get exciting as I delved into courses looking at different mining methods, as well as fascinating topics including drill and blast, socio-environmental aspects of mining, resources estimation and mine planning. These courses apply the maths and physics knowledge from earlier in your degree and set you up with a high-level understanding of the mining industry and everything that contributes to a successful, safe and sustainable mine design. Finally, in fourth year I got the opportunity to apply everything I had learnt in major project courses. We would spend a trimester designing an entire mine and conclude by presenting a feasibility study to a group of professors and industry professionals. In fourth year I also completed my honours thesis looking at critical minerals – the UNSW School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering has a range of ongoing research projects so there is always a thesis topic available that will interest you. You can also go out to industry and do a thesis for a company if you are interested in something more practical rather than research based. 


You were a scholarship recipient. Could you tell us more about your scholarship and how it supported your studies? 

I received several scholarships throughout my time at university, the amount of support available is one of the great things about mining engineering! The UNSW Minerals Industry Scholarship supported me financially throughout my studies. The Scientia Scholarship gave me access to a mentor who in my case was Ismet Canbulat, the Head of the School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, it was fantastic getting to pick his brain about my degree, career and what was going on in industry.  

The UNSW Co-op scholarship was an incredible opportunity for me and the design of the mining engineering program is fantastic. This scholarship set me up to complete two 5-month long internships with a mining company which meant I didn’t have to organise vac work later in my degree. Additionally, it came with a co-op scholarship community, professional development opportunities and mentoring. 

Finally, I received the Australian Institute of Minerals and Metallurgy (AusIMM) Education Endowment Fund (EEF) scholarship at the end of my first year. This scholarship gave me fantastic opportunities to participate in AusIMM (the mining industry peak body) including attending board meetings and the AusIMM congress as well as attending and planning conferences. This gave me a broad range of networking opportunities and was incredibly valuable.

What are your most memorable experiences from UNSW? 

One of my most memorable experiences from the mining engineering program is the AusIMM New Leaders Conference and Mining Games where universities from across Australia send team of students to compete in events of old-school mining techniques including building and dismantling a rail track, shovelling dirt into a railway cart, sawing a block of a plank of wood, and chiselling a hole into a block of cement. The games commemorate all those who have lost their lives in the resources industry. The events sound silly but are so much fun and are a fantastic bonding opportunity with peers in your cohort and across the industry. 

My other super memorable experience comes from attending Unigames as a member of the rowing team. I started rowing for the first time in fourth year uni and the UNSW Rowing Club has such a wonderful vibe of fun and comradery.    

You are currently working at BHP as a graduate mining engineer. Can you tell us about your experience in this role? 

In my role as a graduate mining engineer, I have been given a range of formal and informal professional development opportunities. I think this is something the mining industry does very well, they really value the next generation of engineers and are willing to invest in you. I’m currently working as a dozerpush and dragline engineer which has been amazing – draglines are some of the biggest machines in the world weighing over 8,000 tonnes with a boom arm over 100m long!   

And lastly, why should young women consider pursuing a career in mineral engineering? 

Although the mining industry is a male-dominated industry, there is a clear focus across industry to support women and improve gender diversity. We can see this commitment on the ground in the way that companies are investing in women’s networks, childcare and universal design. This commitment is also shown in how many mining companies offer some of the most generous parental leave packages (equitable across both parents) seen in Australia today.  The mining industry also gives opportunities for work life balance – while it doesn’t look like a traditional job and is instead through FIFO and generous roster options this is something that might work for a lot of women. Overall, as such a massive, global and baseline industry of the economy, the mining industry has the ability to offer many fantastic opportunities and career pathways regardless of gender. 


To find out more about studying mining engineering, visit the School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering.