Alumni profile - Stephanie May

Stephanie MayBE Civil Hons Class 1/B Art 2012
Structural Engineer, CTE WIND Civil Engineering, Brittany France
CTE WIND is an engineering consulting firm specialized in the analysis and design of onshore wind turbine foundations.

I had no idea what “engineering” involved when I began my degree. However I enjoyed the sciences at school, and was drawn by the opportunity to creatively apply them to solve real-world problems.

When I was considering where to apply, I came across an article on how civil engineers from UNSW were volunteering in Cambodia for EWB (Engineers Without Borders). I have always been passionate about humanitarian issues, and civil engineering seemed to be a path through which I could contribute. For a somewhat impulsive choice, it’s been a perfect fit.

UNSW Australia has a reputation as being one of the best universities for engineering in the country. Not only are there extensive choices for different types of engineering, there is also an excellent range of combined degrees available. I decided to combine my Bachelor of Engineering with a Bachelor of Arts, so I could continue my studies in French.

Once I started my degree I became aware of the diversity available even within Civil Engineering at UNSW. I took courses in structural engineering, but also geotechnical engineering and water engineering.  All of which I use on a daily basis in my job.

At the moment I’m working as a structural engineer in north-western France. I work for a company that specialises in the design of foundations for onshore wind turbines. We are involved in projects all over the world –my last project was for a wind farm in Samoa. I enjoy the technical aspect of the design phase, however it’s also exciting to get on site and see our designs constructed in reality.

And in my spare time, I volunteer with the EWB team in France designing various structures for projects in developing countries. Despite the obvious challenges, it’s rewarding knowing that I can contribute my technical knowledge to bring about sustainable change.

The highlight of my degree by far was doing an exchange to France. It was probably the most challenging aspect of my degree, both from a linguistic and an academic point of view, but I loved every moment of it. I met some of my closest friends while on exchange, and it had a huge influence on where I am today.

I highly recommend the exchange program. UNSW has partnerships with hundreds of universities around the world, so you can literally go anywhere you want to goMany people will tell you to get experience. I believe an exchange can be equally as enriching – and may just set you apart from the other candidates.