Alumni profile - Adnan Sufian

Adnan SufianBE Civil Hons 2011
Research Associate
PhD candidate in Imperial College London

“I chose UNSW because it had the best program. It explored all aspects of civil engineering and had a great balance between theory and practice,” says Adnan Sufian, a graduate now working with one of Australia’s leading engineering consultancy.

“I found that the teaching was outstanding and the resources provided by the university were really helpful in my education. Even now, I still bring folders of lecture notes and booklets to work because all the things I studied are applicable to my work.”

Adnan was working as a geotechnical engineer at SMEC Australia, a company with projects all over Australia and internationally.

“I’ve worked on a site investigation project in Gerringong for duplication of the Princes Highway, designed numerous bridge foundations for the Hunter Expressway and even had the chance to work on a project in Vietnam.”

The UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering provides more than 20 scholarships each year to high-school leavers and mid-program students.

“I was lucky enough to receive two scholarships during my time at UNSW, including the Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) Scholarship for Civil Engineers, which provided me with industrial experience that I found was invaluable when I was applying for jobs,” says Adnan.

“I also received the Elite Student Program Research Scholarship in the third year of my degree. This allowed me to do research into a new technology for fibre reinforcement of soils to improve their earthquake resistance – I recently presented the results at a conference to more than 300 civil engineers from industry.”

When asked what surprised him most about his experience at UNSW Adnan says, “I went to university expecting to learn knowledge. But because of the strong teaching and research culture at UNSW, which was recently ranked the highest in Australia, I was encouraged to seriously question existing, and develop new, knowledge.”

“My honours research was reviewed by international experts and will soon be published in a top-ranked journal. I used x-ray images to study the way the cracks and pores develop in sandstone as it is loaded to failure. It will help engineers understand strength and permeability changes, and is relevant to things like tunnel design but also underground storage of CO2.”

“As for the future, I don’t see myself leaving the geotechnical engineering profession any time soon. It’s a profession that is always evolving and updating itself, and will keep throwing challenges your way and that’s really why I do it.”

Adnan is currently a PhD candidate in Geotechnical Engineering with UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.