Nityaa’s drive to solve climate issues led her to pursue a Bachelor of Renewable Energy Engineering (Minor in Humanitarian Engineering). Now in her fourth year, she serves as the president of UNSW’s Women in Engineering Society. Nityaa emphasises the importance of community in addressing global challenges and wants to encourage young female engineering students to seek out their university community. 

What motivated you to be part of engineering? 

In high school, I was passionate about global challenges, particularly sustainability and issues surrounding climate change, and I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a meaningful contribution. After speaking with a few of my teachers, I realised engineering was a really good way to tackle these challenges. 

Initially I had some preconceptions that engineering was purely technical, but I’ve since realised that it also involves working with other people and sharing your knowledge and creative insights to solve complex challenges.

Why were you inspired to join WIESoc?

I wanted to get involved in student societies because coming into uni I didn’t really know anyone, and I was worried about not making meaningful friendships.  In first year, I attended a few WIESoc events and the people I met at those events are now some of my best friends. It was very quickly obvious to me that this was the community I wanted to be in and give back to.

How has your involvement in WIESoc shaped your university experience?

As well as finding a community that makes me feel supported and empowered, a lot of my soft skills have been shaped by my experiences in WIESoc. I’ve had experience liaising with industry, organising and running events, overseeing marketing material – things that I wouldn’t otherwise be doing in my degree. I’ve had the opportunity to work with my team to deliver real actionables; all our initiatives and the events that we put on are important to us and we make an effort to do our best. It’s a steep learning curve.

Who can join WIESoc?

WIESoc is open to quite literally everyone regardless of your year, gender, degree.  There’s no right or wrong time to get involved and you’re always welcome to join events that interest you. So far, this year’s initiatives have included a puppy yoga event where students got to network with industry in a relaxed environment with little puppies running around; Culture Canvas where students could come and connect about their cultures; speed friending for first years and our first year Protégé program.  Some weeks we have up to 3 events running so there’s always something for everyone. 

Why is it important for female engineering students to be involved in a society?

Women are quite obviously underrepresented in engineering. Even in class sometimes there’ll only be two girls in your entire tutorial, so it can be quite overwhelming and isolating when you’re not seeing many women around you. But WIESoc is a reminder of the support you have in navigating this space – you should never feel alone because there are so many other women who are actively challenging the stereotypes.

Do you have any tips for young women who are about to embark on their own engineering journey?

It’s no secret that engineering is a difficult degree and I think that’s what puts off a lot of people, especially young women who don’t often see other women in engineering, especially in leadership positions. But because it is challenging, that’s what makes it a really rewarding degree. With engineering you can really make an impact on the world around you. 

So if you are considering an engineering degree, but are maybe scared by it, please try not to be – trust that you are capable. Everyone is going through the same experience – just step your foot through the door and you’ll find so many people in the same boat who are there to support you.  

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