Student close-up : Katrina Stokes
Katrina attended secondary school at Asquith Girls’ High and was told often by her careers advisor that, given her love for maths and physics and wish to do hands-on stuff, she should do engineering. Despite her initial reluctance Katrina did give engineering a go and found the challenges, honing of problem-solving skills and the ‘usefulness’ of the discipline to be an ideal fit for her personality and planned career path.
Katrina chose Electrical Engineering and undertook her industrial placements at Energy Australia working on a mixture of big budget, large-scale projects and smaller projects focused on quality of electricity and work with the community. In September 2008, following a post-graduation rest, Katrina will commence fulltime employment with Energy Australia.
Regarding the obvious question about being a female in a male dominated industry, Katrina comments that "the only disappointment is that there are so few other females." In part this is because of a misperception of what engineering involves - it is not always steelworks and heavy industry; engineering is people-oriented and interactive and ideal for people who enjoy problem solving.
As one would hope and expect from any institution and especially one with the status and reputation of the University of Sydney, in teaching and learning activities Katrina’s minority status was a non-event. Katrina reports that she received nothing but support and encouragement in her choice of profession from both her colleagues at the University of Sydney and the industries she liaised with and worked for.
Her program, while providing excellent technical grounding in engineering and particularly power, also instilled excellent project, people and time management skills, graduate attributes which are widely sought after by employers of the workforce.
As one of the early graduates with knowledge and experience in power engineering Katrina will be a forerunner in the field and would like to use her knowledge and skills in the wider community and ultimately aspires to work in the international aid field.