Student close-up : Michael Bewley

BE (Electrical) BSc
University Medal, Engineers Australia Student Engineer of the Year

Michael Bewley graduated from the University of Sydney at the beginning of 2008.

In five years he completed a double degree - a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering) with Honours Class I and the University Medal. In addition he made the Dean’s list for Academic Excellence during each year of his enrolment and picked up several student prizes along the way.

Not bad for a student who says “my original plan was a physics degree with electrical engineering tacked on to help me get a job because my friends at school told me that ‘engineering is a boring course, filled with boring people, leading to boring jobs’.”

However once he discovered the potential for using science and technology to address issues and solve problems, Michael became a convert to Engineering.

After fundamental maths and programming courses, Michael asked himself “what would interest and challenge me?” The answer was Electrical Engineering and an industrial placement at CSIRO with the team designing and building a hybrid electric vehicle. Two further placements were with Cochlear, the world leader in bionic ear implants and based in Sydney.

Michael is now a graduate engineer with Cochlear using the skills he learned in signal processing and artificial intelligence to help design the next generation of bionic ears.

About engineering....Michael advises potential students to look at the final year subjects on offer to find the program which most fits their interests. With the basics completed in the early years and utilising the flexibility offered by the University of Sydney degree structure, Michael did a BE/BSc which enabled physics in 3rd year, lots of electrical engineering in 4th year and computational
science and engineering in 5th year.

As Michael says “I played with lasers, designed a satellite link, wrote speech compression software, made a numberplate recognitionsystem, built a radio, used artificial neural networks, measured the impulses on a cane-toad’s nerve, learned about management and innovation systems, and to cap it off, for my thesis I created a working automated model to help doctors diagnose Alzheimers disease.” Essentially pick subjects which sound interesting because a lot of your time is invested in your studies, and let them lead to a career that you will enjoy.

As Michael concludes “engineering boring? I think not....”