Meet Georgie Mansfield, currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons)/ Science, and her sister Alice, who graduated in 2023 with a degree in Food Science and Technology, both from the School of Chemical Engineering.

Raised in a family that values complex problems and critical thinking, the sisters have forged unique paths within their shared field, driven by their distinct interests and ambitions.

In the Q+A below, we delve into their motivations, experiences, and the dynamic interplay of sibling support and competition that has shaped their academic and personal lives. Georgie and Alice's story highlights the power of family and the pursuit of excellence in chemical engineering.


1. Have you faced any challenges or competition between you, and how have you managed those dynamics?

Georgie: A challenge we both faced was the uncertainty and instability across COVID. Lockdowns made that time of university an isolating experience. We were lucky that we could manage it together by studying in the same room, spending our breaks together, and talking about how our courses changed. This made what was an isolating experience for most, a unifying one for us.

Alice: As there is only a year between us there has always been competition. However, I think this makes us both better. We’ve always been quite close so by the time we got to UNSW the dynamics pretty much managed themselves. We were each other’s greatest supporter and fiercest competition.

2. What are some key moments or achievements you’ve experienced during your university journey?

Georgie: Being part of UNSW Women in Technology was an invaluable part of my university journey. I started off in a subcommittee which helped build skills such as teamworking, articulating ideas in a group, and responding to new, tight deadlines. Then, becoming an executive was an exciting way to take these skills to a higher level as well as strategically manage time and outputs, coordinate meetings and team progress, and contribute to the overall success of the society.

Completing the milestone Design Project was also a highlight. It was exciting to take the technical skills I have developed across my degree and apply them to a team environment and real industry problem. I really enjoyed presenting our design to industry reps and overcoming challenges of the project.


Alice: I completed the Project Thesis in Chemical Engineering on 3D printing. This was extremely challenging because 3D printing is quite novel and highly unscalable. Our team worked to improve a dental dog treat using 3D printing principals such as layering to produce a unique texture and precision to create a specific “aerated” structure, we used Fusion 360 to design bubble size to increase surface area thereby increasing cleaning ability and used ingredients such as cellulose to increase surface roughness.

Another key moment was working in the Future Students Office as a Student Ambassador. This gave me the opportunity to promote the School of Chemical Engineering to high school students, teachers, parents, careers advisors and agents. This sometimes meant completing outreach activities at schools or assisting with on-campus workshops in SEB. This was a great opportunity to connect with the chemical engineering faculty staff outside of regular classes and talk about my experience at the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering to prospective students.


3. Looking ahead, what are your career goals after graduation, and do you plan to work together in the future?

Georgie: I’m really interested in the water sector and consulting and aim to pursue this. There are a lot of new and diverse challenges in the water industry, new opportunities that are opening in water innovation, and so much still to learn about water treatment which makes it a great industry to be a part of.

In terms of working together, funnily, we didn’t plan to be in the same School at UNSW either. I think we both enjoy pursuing our passions and individual interests, but at some point, I think it’s likely these will accidentally cross again and we’ll be surprised to be working together.


Alice: I would like to make a real contribution to the industry through innovative and interesting projects. There is a huge piece around sustainability now and this a particularly challenging area for the agrifood space, which is often under scrutiny for food waste and contribution to climate change. While the industry is already taking leaps to futureproof itself, I would really like to contribute to the sustainability transition and innovation in the Australian food industry.

I think we would be an incredible team; now we are going to different companies, but we always seem to converge so I’m sure we will work together at some point in the future.


4. What do you enjoy most about studying at UNSW?

Georgie: UNSW offers so many diverse experiences and these can go beyond your immediate faculty too. Being able to work with people from other degrees and thrive in environments where diversity of thought is championed and leads to success means that you can broaden your perspective and experiences in a way that is unique.

Alice: I really enjoy the culture at UNSW, the focus on industry experience, obtaining a holistic university education and studying at a world class institution (7th in the world!). I have had the opportunity to gain industry experience through Work Integrated Learning (WIE) and by building connections at industry events that have led to meeting mentors and gaining quality industry experience. I was able to work at UNSW and be part of a society which helped me see UNSW from a variety of perspectives and gave me a rich variety of experiences to graduate with. Studying at a high-quality university was fantastic, I had access to industry leaders who are experts in their field and high-quality facilities which meant I could tap into those resources to build my own knowledge and understanding.