Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Meet Kailin
Meet Kailin
Meet Kailin

What do you study?

I am in my final year of a Chemical and Environmental Engineering .

Why did you choose to study at UQ?

I grew up in Brisbane and spent a lot of time at UQ through my high-school years, and I was always impressed by UQ’s engineering Faculty; its national standing, the resources that were available and the opportunities presented to their students. As such, when the time came to put down by QTAC preferences, I knew that UQ would be the top of my list for engineering.

Why did you choose to study your discipline?

Initially, I wasn’t sure what type of engineering I would pursue – in my first year I tried my hand at a few different disciplines, and quite enjoyed all of them. I have always had a passion for sustainability, so I knew that I would enjoy a discipline with an environmental focus, however I really decided on Chemical & Environmental Engineering when I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in the energy space. This discipline track is perfectly positioned to prepare students for this career path, and has afforded me countless opportunities in the energy sector that I doubt I would have found if I wasn’t pursuing my dual major. One of my first bosses at Hatch specifically singled out the fact the multidisciplinary background brought by my Chemical and Environmental Engineering degree as a key reason I was hired. The breadth of knowledge and perspective offered by this program is fantastic for students and recognised by employers, and I’ve never doubted that it was the right choice for me.

What advice do you have for prospective students interested in studying engineering, architecture, computer science and/or information technology at UQ?

Firstly, I’d recommend having a good think about not only what you enjoy learning, be it maths, physics, or chemistry, but also the direction you would like your career to take and the areas that interest you. Many students (like me) hop straight into an Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (EAIT) degree because they like maths and science, but once they get there don’t necessarily give a lot of thought to what they want to do with the degree once they have it. Of course, no one expects a first-year student to have their career completely mapped out – indeed, you’ll probably change your mind a hundred times by fourth year – but thinking about what you’re passionate about is the first step to figuring out how you can make your degree get you there. Our industry is one that deals with some of the biggest and most complex problems in the world: over-population, water scarcity, and food security just to name a few. For me, climate change is the biggest motivating factor towards the direction I want my career to take; I want to work on the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy sector in order to reduce our carbon footprint. The problem you want to solve doesn’t need to be as big as climate change though – it could be figuring out how to take advantage of new data to optimise manufacturing lines, or simply trying to find a more efficient way to design a nozzle. Either way, knowing what interests you will motivate you to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to you at UQ and get you on track to carve out your own unique career.

Secondly, get involved! UQ has so many amazing events, clubs, and societies run and attended by people just like you. Whatever you figure out your interest area is, I guarantee there is a group at UQ who is just as interested as you, and I’d implore you to take advantage of that – there are few times in your life when you will have the opportunity to meet so many people with unique views, interests, and perspectives. Sign up to your school’s student society, attend seminars held by experts in your field of interest, and just try new things – you won’t regret it.

What do you love most about your degree?

What I love most about my engineering degree is the problem-solving skillset we’re trained to develop over the course of our four year program. Engineering gives you a unique approach to problem solving that becomes second nature – it’s for this reason that engineering graduates are so sought after, even in fields outside of engineering! I love being dealt a large, complex problem and meticulously trying to break it down into achievable, bite sized pieces. This process is one you’re trained in from day one and I’m very grateful that my degree has given me the confidence to tackle problems that once would have been beyond me, even if they are outside of my technical discipline. Aside from this, I really enjoy the sense of community that arises over the years between an EAIT cohort. Unlike other programs like arts or economics, you tend to take the same sets of courses with the same groups of people, and it’s really easy to make friends and form close-knit groups. This is definitely something that is fostered by both the Faculty and the Student Societies, who both hold countless EAIT events aimed at bringing cohorts together. I’d recommend taking advantage of these opportunities to any incoming student pursuing an EAIT degree.

What has been your favourite moment while doing vacation work?

I've been lucky enough to have completed several vacation programs and internships, and each was valuable and enjoyable in its own way. I completed my first vac work program with Hatch at the end of second year, and it was an amazing way to get used to a professional workplace environment - this was really valuable in giving me the confidence I needed for later internship opportunities. Since that internship, I've enjoyed exploring subject areas outside of engineering with Ernst & Young and loved the opportunity to really challenge my technical chemical engineering skills at Shell Australia. All in all, vac work is an amazing opportunity to experience a real workplace environment, sharpen your skills, and meet a bunch of inspiring and supportive people along the way.

What makes you a great EAIT Student Ambassador?

I really enjoy my degree, and love describing its opportunities to both current and prospective students, particularly in the field of sustainable energy. I believe STEM education is incredibly important in developing future generations capable of tackling the world’s big problems, so I really enjoy promoting it, not just as an Ambassador but also as a tutor and volunteer. I’m also very passionate about the value of international exchange programs for EAIT students, and currently hold a role as an EAIT Global Experiences Student Leader. Each of these roles gives me the opportunity to share what I’m passionate about with others, and this is what motivates me as a Student Ambassador and a leader in general.