Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Tara Ryan
Tara Ryan
Meet Tara Ryan

What do you study?

Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Dual Degree with Economics)

What/who inspired you to choose engineering?

I was inspired to do engineering because I wanted to do something that would challenge me, equip me with transferable skills, and would provide me with opportunity to have real impact. Although, initially I was a little worried, as my favourite subjects at school were English and music extension and I didn’t want to give these passions up; however I realised that I didn’t have to, as I quickly discovered that through communication and creativity, technical engineering knowledge can be translated to the real-world. Resultantly, these passions provided me with valuable skills throughout many university and industry-related engineering experiences.

Why did you choose the discipline you are studying?

I chose to study Chemical Engineering because I can envision myself loving the path of lifelong learning that it will bring. It’s also a very broad engineering discipline and - since I’m not yet sure on what industry I want to work within - will give me room to grow in a variety of different directions. To compliment this and further engage my interests in sustainability and the circular economy, I am also studying a Bachelor of Economics, majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Economics.

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

I wish I knew more about balancing my time! University is the first time where everything depends entirely on your own personal discipline and motivation, so it can be tricky at first to ensure you have a good balance between competing demands (academic, social, etc.). Every student will learn how to manage this over time, but the quicker you get a grasp on it the better. I personally just try to remember that the most important thing is to try your very best, and prioritise what you value.

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

I chose to study at the University of Queensland because I heard about its incredible engineering program with a high national ranking, great industry connections, world-class resources, and supportive and friendly environment. The university exceeded my expectations when I started, and continues to do so now - I am so glad I chose to study here!

Your best tip for first-year engineering students?

Take advantage of every opportunity! This is so important, as UQ has so much to offer students, including opportunities to make amazing like-minded friends, receive amazing academic support, and most importantly, develop industry connections whilst at university.

In my first year I took up as many opportunities as I could, and applied to heaps of different things. This ended up resulting in a winter vacation engineering placement in my first year at Mount Isa Mines, and from there, two more placements over my first year and second year summer holidays. I now have over six months full-time industry experience going into my third year – all thanks to UQ’s connections and my mentality of giving everything a go!

Your favourite example of amazing engineering?

The process of producing a copper product of around 99.7% pure copper grade from ore of 1-2% copper grade is the most recent engineering example I have been amazed by. Working as an undergraduate metallurgist within the Mount Isa copper concentrator allowed me to explore this process, check out some amazing technologies (such as the IsaMill, Jameson Cell, and the Isasmelt), and learn about the amazing engineering behind each step involved!

Dream engineering job when you graduate?

Not certain on what the title of my dream engineering job would be just yet; however, I know that it would involve my passions for the circular economy, efficiency, and sustainability, and would involve heaps of problem solving, collaboration, leadership, and learning.

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

We are living in a time that demands the best from industry – how could we ever achieve the best without everyone involved?