Engineering students Sipass Khan spoke with create about why she wants to work in the sustainable energy sector, engineering role models and the importance of the profession.
Sipass Khan is currently studying for her Bachelor of Engineering Electrical and Electronics (Honours) at Victoria University.
create: What is the value of this engineering degree to you?
SIPASS KHAN: Engineering has taught me many things throughout my four years. Despite the technical skills, one thing it has allowed me to achieve is a sense of self. It has gifted me with the confidence to be able to persevere through difficult times whilst also providing me with a platform to be a positive role model for females in science, technology and engineering (STEM).
create: What would be your ideal job?
SK: Ideally, I would love to work within the sustainable energy industry. Ever since I can remember I’ve been extremely passionate about various environmental issues such as the use of fossil fuels as well as plastic pollution in society. It is important to me to be able to work in a company that promotes positive environmental change through the use of solar or wind solutions and s an advocate for clean energy in today’s world. A job in sustainable energy would give me the means to make a positive impact in society.
create: Who is one engineer you most admire?
SK: One of the engineers I admire the most is Nicole Stott. Nicole Stott is a female engineer from America who is also a retired NASA astronaut. Nicole has always been my idol as she has been able to achieve so much, despite all the challenges females face within STEM industries.
I had the pleasure of getting to meet Nicole during Victoria University’s 2018 Space tour and was able to tell her in person what an inspiration she has been to me. She was also able to give me a few words of wisdom and encouraged me to do my best and never give up.
create: How can engineering benefit humankind?
SK: Engineering has the potential to provide ongoing innovation to society. Whether it’s innovation in the home, business or in large-scale projects, engineering has limitless possibilities, especially with the evolving nature of technology.
create: Favourite subject in your engineering course?
SK: My favourite subject so far has been Sustainable Energy Systems. As the name suggests, the subject covered the different aspects of sustainable/renewable energy, including, manufacturing, generation, transmission, and commercial and non-commercial implementation. I found myself engaging in the unit more and more, even spending my spare time researching about innovations in the sustainable energy industry as well as environmental issues that are being addressed by companies.
create: What is the most important thing you will look for in an employer?
SK: Given my interest in sustainable energy systems, one thing I look for is an employer who shares similar environmental beliefs as me and is an advocate for positive environmental change.
create: Are you active in any social or community cause through the university?
SK: I am currently developing and running my own project known as Girls in STEM, which endeavours to encourage females to pursue careers in STEM. The project entails reaching out to all-girls schools and running classes, interactive workshops and implementing student-ran projects so that females are shown what is possible in a career in STEM whilst still ensuring it is an enjoyable experience.
I’m hoping that by running this project I am able to be a positive role model for all females who wish to pursue a career in STEM.
create: Did you work on any interesting projects at university?
SK: One project I am currently involved in at Victoria University is the Plastic Solution project, which operates under the Enactus group. Our aim is to collect and also repurpose single-use plastics by shredding and extruding the shredded plastic into 3D printing filament. It is entirely run by university students from different disciplines and backgrounds, all working towards removing plastic waste from the community.
In addition to giving single-use plastic a second life, we’re also implementing a primary school program that endeavours to educate kids about single-use plastics and how to reduce and reuse plastic in the home. It’s a project that I am incredibly passionate about, which continues to grow.