Why I chose Mining Engineering: Jessica McGregor

Name: Jessica McGregor


Engineering Program:  Bachelor of Mining Engineering (Hons)


Year level: Completed Undergraduate/Beginning PhD in 2018


Campus: Kensington



How did you first find out about UNSW and programs offered? Why did you choose UNSW over another university? Why did you choose your program?

Initially, I found out about UNSW through high school info days, and then attending open days to find out more about the courses offered. After completing high school, I studied a bachelor of digital media within UNSW, which I completed but realised that despite loving it and continuing to pursue digital design, it was not the career for me. I looked back at the subjects I really enjoyed during high school such as maths and physics, and found that engineering really appealed to me. I didn’t know a lot about mining engineering at the time, but was drawn in by the possibilities of different career paths and roles, potential worldwide locations for work, and exciting study topics!


Do you have a scholarship? If so, what difference does it make to you? What are the benefits of being a Scholarship holder?

Yes, in 2016 I was awarded the AusIMM Education Endowment Fund Premium Scholarship. This scholarship has been invaluable to me during my studies – I was paired with two fantastic mentors who have supported me throughout my degree, providing advice and assisting me through both my degree and with my career progression post-study. The scholarship also allowed me to meet and become great friends with a large group of like-minded enthusiastic students from universities across Australia during our intensive field trip. Being a scholarship holder allowed me the invaluable opportunity to focus hard on my studies and thesis research, while constantly expanding my network to professionals all throughout the mining industry.


What is the best part of your program – most interesting, or unexpected?

Starting my mining engineering degree, I never dreamed of the possibilities that would be available to me when I reached 4th year.


Starting my mining engineering degree, I never dreamed of the possibilities that would be available to me when I reached 4th year. Throughout my studies, I have loved the wide range of topics that we cover within the degree, but the possibility to complete research during my honours thesis that combined virtual reality technology and mining engineering was the most exciting and interesting thing for me! My research allowed me to combine my two passions of mining engineering and digital design and technology into a project that I was so enthusiastic about working on every day. I was able to develop a virtual reality software prototype for the mining industry which included learning code, rounds of testing, and completing my research all in the space of a year. 


This project also led into the decision to stay on at UNSW next year to commence a PhD – continuing my research into the application of VR for the mining industry. I always thought that I would complete my studies and begin a graduate role, but the chance to stay on and continue research and VR development was such a fantastic opportunity doing something I absolutely love, there was no way I could pass it up!


Is university like you imagined it would be?

Yes – it’s busy, action packed, filled with great people and every day is different!


What is a typical uni day for you?

A normal uni day for me during the last year was always busy and action packed. During first semester, I was completing my studies while being part of a team that organised an international field trip to Canada. During semester two, I spent nearly every day either writing code, or in the VR world with an oculus rift head set on – not exactly what I imagined my mining engineering degree to be like when I started my studies, but I loved every second.


What do you like about UNSW?

UNSW is a fantastic university, I have really enjoyed my time studying here, and am looking forward to coming back next year to start my PhD. 

In particular the School of Mining Engineering has always been a great environment to study in – everyone is friendly, gets along well and wants to help out however they can.



Do you still like your program? Do you still want the same career that you did at the beginning? If not, why not?

I really enjoyed my program and am so happy that I decided to come back to uni to study mining engineering. I am looking forward to starting my career in the mining industry – though it will be a little different to what I originally imagined! I am so thankful for the opportunities available to me throughout my degree that allowed me to find this area of mining engineering and research that I am so excited about exploring over the next few years and into the future.


Do you have hints/tips for prospective students looking for a program of study?

Choose something you love – if you are passionate about your studies, you’ll enjoy every day like I did! And always be open to exploring new and exciting opportunities, you never know where they may lead!


Describe your experience at UNSW Mining Engineering in 1 word. 





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