Women in Engineering

School of Chemical Engineering Women in Engineering Initiatives

Traditionally, women have been under-represented in engineering, but things are changing. 

UNSW Australia's Faculty of Engineering retains above-average female enrolments, but we want more. We have made a commitment to increasing our female enrolments to 25 per cent by 2020.

Here are just some of the initiatives the School of Chemical Engineering is involved with to attract women to the field of engineering.

Women in Chemical Engineering and Food Science Luncheon

The School of Chemical Engineering enjoys a ratio of slightly more than 1:3 female to male undergraduates. We are proud of the achievements of our current and past female engineering students and are determined to foster a supportive learning and research environment to encourage more females to consider the school of chemical engineering as a place to begin their tertiary education.

Female high school students are attracted to our school because of the range of career options available to chemical engineers and industrial chemists. However, it is possible to be spoiled for choice so deciding what to do after graduation can be a challenge; even for students with well defined career goals. To help students successfully negotiate the transition from university to a rewarding career, the school arranges small sessions for female undergraduates in 3rd and 4th year with former students who have been working for five or more years. These gatherings afford the undergraduates to listen to stories and experiences of successful young women who have used their degrees to build interesting careers. The students quickly realise that the first job after graduation is often a stepping stone and that through planning, hard work and occasionally luck it is possible to forge a rewarding career.

Former students who have participated in our School Women in Engineering programme 

Each of the following alumnae have respectively achieved success in different fields. 

Jemma Hartog (Nee McKenzine) - senior metallurgist with New Gold Inc in Cobar NSW; Ellen Gursanscky - Senior Consultant at Booz & Company; Laura Hose - procurement manager for LionCo; Sarah Herbert - Patent Attorney with ShelstonsIP; Angela Barrett - Acting Director Ministerial, Parliamentary and Executive Services at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; Angela Rozali - engineer (renewable energy) at AECOM; Andrea Bustamante - process engineer at Caltex; Emily Davis - Manager at L.E.K Consulting; Gabrielle McGill - GHD Water Infrastructure Team; Chole Quinn - Graduate Chemical Engineer (Underground Bulk Explosives Technology & Development) at Orica; Kylie Lim - Process Engineer at M.E. Engineering; Hilda Ching - Product Technologist (Streets Ice Cream) at Unilever. 

In all cases their careers are marked by travel, most often overseas, and transitions within and in some cases between industries and professions. These anecdotes provided valuable information of our local and international students. It is impossible to distil these experiences into presentations or case studies; the message needs to be delivered in the first person. The recent Women in Engineering event was an opportunity away from staff, away from the pressures of assignments and other distractions to listen and share.

The School appreciates the support of the employers mentioned above for allowing their staff to inspire the next group of female graduates from UNSW Chemical Engineering.


View more photos from the Women in Engineering Luncheon on 22 October 2013. 

UNSW Women in Engineering Awards

Please refer to the Faculty of Engineering website for Women in Engineering Awards 

The UNSW Women in Engineering Awards is a new initiative founded in 2012 by Professor Greg Leslie of the School of Chemical Engineering. The Awards are designed to recognise and profile successful female alumni within the industry and encourage more female engineers in Australia.

The awards support UNSW's wider Women in Engineering focus to attract more female high school leavers to consider engineering as their preferred career.

For the first time in 2013, one award was open to all female alumni across the Faculty of Engineering. 

Please refer to the Faculty of Engineering website for 2014 and onwards Women in Engineering Awards. 

Award categories and recipients

Professor Judy Raper Award for Leadership

Open to past graduates from all Schools within the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW.

2013 recipient: Dr Mehreen Faruqi 2012 recipient: Scientia Professor Rose Amal

Emeritus Professor Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

Open to recent graduates from the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW.

2013 recipient: Dr Megan Lord 2012 recipient: Dr Vivien Chapman

The 2013 UNSW Women in Engineering Awards were sponsored by Aurecon and presented by the School of Chemical Engineering at The Mint in Sydney on Thursday 8 August.

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane announced the award recipients and student presentations were made by, Stephanie Domanski (undergraduate from the School of Chemical Engineering) and high school students, Emma Donaldson and Pippa Louey (participants of the Faculty 2013 Women in Engineering Camp).

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