Awards night for Women In Engineering

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Winners of the Women in Engineering Awards. Ms Pia Seeto (left) and Ms Lee-Anne Sylva (right) with Professor Graham Davies (Dean Engineering)

Last night marked one of the highlights in the UNSW Engineering calendar as the University recognised the achievements of its female graduates.

The Women in Engineering Awards ceremony was held at the stylish venue The Mint, Sydney, with guests from our diverse industry partners and Faculty staff attending to applaud their successes and achievements.

The special night acknowledged and showcased the accomplishments of UNSW Engineering alumnae and their contribution to the profession and the community.

Ms Lee-Anne Sylva was the winner of the ‘The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement’. Ms Sylva is a senior process engineer for GHD, a world leading company which provides engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services to private and public sector clients. In this role she has been involved in a wide variety of water and wastewater projects. Ms Sylva has also played an integral part in GHD’s Young Professionals program as an internal Quality Auditor.

The second winner of the night was Ms Pia Seeto who received the ‘The Judy Raper Award for Leadership in Engineering’. This award recognises a sustained and significant contribution through demonstrated leadership, characterised by passion and commitment, setting bold objectives and achieving results, and most importantly, motivating and mobilising the talent of others for the benefit of the profession and the community at large.

As the Portfolio Director for Managed Services for Ericsson, Ms Seeto was certainly a deserving winner, having led gender diversity initiatives at Ericsson and also directing teams of up to 60 project managers to deliver major projects for corporate clients like NBN, AMP and Telstra.

Ms Pia Seeto said "It is a great honour to be recognised in this way, something like this allows one to reflect on the journey that has been and the many who assisted you to develop and grow, that is the true gift. It is lovely to have the opportunity to say thank you. Also it is fantastic opportunity to pay forward the intent of the program and shift thinking in a relevant way towards increasing diversity in engineering  and the broader work environment."

The outstanding quality of nominations this year demonstrates the high calibre of our alumnae and we would also like to congratulate the other finalists:

Ms Gabriele McGill  (MSK Award finalist) is a process engineer at GHD. Having volunteered for Engineers Without Borders Australia since 2011, she is now Sydney Regional President of EWB. Ms McGill recently spent a year in Cambodia delivering sanitation solutions to local communities.

Dr Jacqueline Thomas (MSK Award finalist) is a senior scientist at the Ifakara Health Institute based in Tanzania. Her research is focused on sustainable sanitation with nutrient and energy recovery and appropriate household level water treatment for local communities.

Dr Robyn Grote (JR Award finalist) has combined the disciplines of physiotherapy and medical engineering. As the Principal Research Fellow at Queensland Health she focuses on three dimensional gait analysis of people being treated for serious movement disability. Currently Dr Grote is also a visiting fellow at The UQ Centre for Clinical Research and The School of Engineering Systems at QUT.

Ms Raelene O’Brien (JR Award finalist) is the Group Manager of Technical Services at Glencore Coal Assets Australia. She has over 17 years’ experience as a mining engineer with a particular focus on applying systems engineering ideas to mining processes, including a focus on safety, standards and efficiency. She has led specialised teams in the areas of mine design and planning, production, strata control, geology, ventilation, and infrastructure.

Dr Shari Soutberg (JR Award finalist) is the Director Materiel Engineering at The Defence Materiel Organisation. Shari has provided almost 30 years of service to the Defence Department in various engineering roles, concentrating on applying the systems engineering process in Defence to efficiently and effectively achieve greater Defence capability.

All of these accomplished women are excellent role models for young women and we hope that they will continue to inspire the next generation of women in engineering at UNSW.

For more information on UNSW’s Women In Engineering initiatives click here.

Congratulations again to the winners and finalists.

The event was generously sponsored by API and Transgrid.