Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Charlotte Levy
Charlotte Levy
Meet Charlotte Levy

What do you study?

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering (4th Year)

What/who inspired you to choose engineering?

I was never one of those lucky people who knew what they wanted to do and engineering was never something I really considered. In fact, in year 10 when I had to select my senior subjects the councilor asked me if I had considered engineering (and thus should do Maths C) and I shrugged it off and never gave it another thought until the night the QTAC forms were due in year 12. Mum and I flicked through every page of the magazine of degrees and I thought back to what the careers councilor had said and googled “what is an engineer”. At this point I still didn’t know what an engineer did and the only engineers I’d met were my friends’ dads so I never really thought I would enjoy it. As I loved maths and science (chemistry in particular) and problem solving, my mum and I thought chemical engineering seemed like a good fit for me so I went with it, thinking that I could always change later on if I didn’t like it.

If I had known what engineering was and all the different career paths it could lead to, I’m sure I would have chosen it from the beginning. This is why I am so excited to be a part of WE for 2020!

Why did you choose the discipline you are studying?

I started out in chemical engineering, as I really enjoyed chemistry in high school. However, at the end of my first year, I was curious to know what civil engineering was like and after taking the introductory civil course, I changed over straight away. I’m so glad that I changed to civil, as I love the content of my courses but also the diverse career paths that it can provide, such as structural, environmental, fire, hydraulic, transport, mining, construction or anything in between.

What is one thing about university or engineering that you wished you knew earlier?

Everyone, including students, tutors, lecturers and advisors, are so willing to help, so if you have any kind of problem with your studies, never be afraid to ask for help. Also if you’re thinking of going on exchange, start planning it early so that you can make the courses work.

What made you pick engineering at the University of Queensland over other universities?

The engineering course at UQ is great, from the diverse range of courses offered, the resources available (such as tutors, first year learning centre) and the research centres. However, the university experience extends much further than the degree itself. At UQ there are so many opportunities available for extra-curricular activities and I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in sports, clubs and societies and attending a wide range of events. Also, my experiences with going abroad and being supported by UQ (semester exchange to Dublin and an Engineers Without Boarders trip to Cambodia) are memories I will keep forever.

Your best tip for first-year engineering students?

Try as many of the general first year engineering courses (eg ENGG1300, ENGG1400, ENGG1500) as you can. I wish I had chosen a more general first year to find my passions early. Also, get involved as much as you can, university life is far more enjoyable when there is more reason to go in than just lectures and tutorials. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends and meet people.

Your favourite example of amazing engineering?

Almost everything we see, touch and use each day has been engineered; phones, planes, shoes, the train and everything in between. I’m a civil engineering student, so whenever I think of engineering my mind straight away goes to amazing building all around the world like the Eiffel tower or the Burj Khalifa, but there are some things as simple as laundry detergent that have been engineered that we don’t really think about. It is pretty incredible what engineers have been able to do and make, from making drinks, to cars and rockets, to the necessities like roads and waste water treatment and there are so many opportunities and avenues. Overall, the impacts of engineers are so far reaching and a lot of those things we take for granted. As we move into an age with more focus on the protection of the environment, engineers will be at the forefront of positive change, which is so exciting.

Dream engineering job when you graduate?

I’m set to graduate at the end of this year and I’m still a bit unsure of where I would like to take my degree. I have a particular interest in the environment and my civil engineering degree has equipped me with many skills to enter the industry. Engineering is a great degree to travel with, so whatever direction I go in, I hope to be able to travel and make a positive change in the world.

What do you hope to achieve as a WE student leader?

I never really picked engineering, I just kind of fell into it. For this reason, I am passionate about spreading the message about how incredible this degree is, so that students, in particular girls, can make more informed decisions and consider engineering as a legitimate career path from the start. I believe that if you have interest in making your big (or small) mark on the world, it is an amazing degree for you. It’s the perfect combination of math, science, innovation, team work and problem solving. The more engineers (and female engineers in particular), the more diversity and innovation there will be in the world.