1. What sparked your interest in chemical engineering?

I loved science and maths as a high school student and wanted to do something in the science and/or engineering field. Chemical Engineering had a solid proportion of women in engineering, and there are also lots of job opportunities in manufacturing anywhere in the world, which is why process engineering (which is chemical engineering) was my choice in engineering at the time.

2. What led you to pursue research after being in the industry for several years?

I actually continued on to postgraduate research after doing my 4th year honours thesis with my role model – one of the most amazing and top Women in Engineering, Scientia Professor Rose Amal. Based on the honours research project, I wanted to continue to research degree. I then went to industry – after my postgraduate degree and continued in research & development but in industry (manufacturing).

3. Tell us about your research area

I currently have two research areas. The first is Engineering education research which focuses on higher education practices. The second area is applied research (industry-linked), looking into products and process improvement for the manufacturing environment with a focus on sustainable manufacturing.

4. What has been the best part of the research you do?

The best part of my research is that I have continued to stay up-to-date with industry trends, which enables me to bring it back to use in our teaching and learning practices to develop our students.

5. What courses do you teach? What has been a memorable part of your teaching experience?

I teach design and work integrated learning courses and programs from first year (Level 1) to postgraduate level. These include the courses Product Engineering and Design, Food Product Manufacturing, Separations, Process Equipment Design, Process Plant Design, Chemical Engineering Laboratory, Stage 4 Design Project, Engineering Work Integrated Learning electives as well as the Science and Engineering Indigenous Preparatory Program.

For me, the most memorable part of teaching is the enthusiasm of students and seeing their development from a young undergraduate (straight out of high school) through to their final years, and how they grow as young engineers.

6. What advice would you give to high school girls interested in chemical engineering?

If you are unsure of what science or engineering program you may be interested in – consider chemical engineering…. It would be my recommendation. Often we are known as the “universal” engineer – that is because we learn about products, processes and systems which makes our program diverse, and we can use the skills and knowledge to apply to any industry!

For more information about chemical engineering, see the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering.