Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

Yvette (Evie) Gibbon
Yvette (Evie) Gibbon

Meet Evie

Third Year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Chemical and Environmental

What/who inspired you to choose engineering?

I always enjoyed STEM subjects at school and knew I wanted to pursue a career filled with problem solving. I changed my QTAC preferences quite a few times but eventually settled on an engineering/science double degree so that I could try out a few biomedical science courses, as studying medicine was one of my other career options. It didn’t take long to realise that engineering was the degree for me. I swapped out of the science part of my degree so that I could pursue chemical and environmental engineering and I am so excited to see where the degree will take me.

Why did you choose the specialisation you are studying?

I’ve always loved chemistry and thanks to UQ’s flexible first year structure I knew that chemical engineering was the right specialisation for me after trying out a few different electives. A major part of chemical engineering is process engineering, and the prospect of being able to analyse complex systems and processes and develop innovative solutions for process and system optimisation is something that really interests me.

I am particularly passionate about the environmental major of my chemical engineering degree as I hope to one day channel my career towards developing creative and sustainable solutions to solve some of the world’s toughest problems such as climate change, water management and resource recovery.

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

Never be afraid to ask for help! There are so many resources and people to guide you through your first year of uni. If you need help choosing a major or are unsure what subjects you should choose try talking to tutors, peers, lecturers and advisors. There are also so many clubs and extra-curricular opportunities on offer at uni, and first-year is the perfect time to start getting involved.

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

UQ is the top university in Queensland for engineering and technology, and the facilities and opportunities that students have access to are incredible. I was also drawn to the flexible first year option that UQ has to offer for first year engineering students as I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to specialise in. Uni life and the campus at UQ are also amazing – there are so many different sporting facilities (including an athletics track!) and awesome study spaces.

Your best tip for first-year engineering students?

Embrace challenges! Engineering can be difficult and daunting sometimes but it’s equally rewarding as it is hard. Never lose sight of the incredible career opportunities an engineering degree has to offer – you gain the ability to make a major difference in the world and how it operates.

If you are studying full-time, four years will fly by, so make the absolute most of every opportunity and get involved in Uni life – whether its playing sport, volunteering, or studying with friends, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy your time on campus. If you are studying externally – make the most of zoom! I would definitely recommend setting up zoom calls and forming online study groups with your peers if you can’t make it to campus. It’ll make your study sessions more engaging and enjoyable.

Your favourite example of amazing engineering?

The microwave! I remember watching a documentary on how it was invented in primary school and it really resonated with me. While conducting research on radars, engineer Percy Spencer discovered that the microwaves produced by the radar had caused a candy bar in his pocket to melt. He conducted further research with other foods and less than two years later the first commercial microwave ovens were available for purchase! I think this is a perfect example of how technology can have applications in so many different fields, and the possibilities for application can stretch far beyond our initial predictions and expectations.

Another example of amazing engineering – the air conditioner! It’s a definite winner on a hot QLD summer day.

Dream engineering job when you graduate?

My idea of a ‘dream job’ seems to change with the more I learn and the more experience I gain. I suspect it may change a few more times before I graduate! I currently have a strong interest in renewable energy and water management industries, and hope to be on the front line in transforming Australia’s energy and resource industries towards a more efficient and low-carbon future.

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

As an engineer I am drawn to numbers, and the ratio of female to male engineers and engineering students just isn’t quite high enough for me! Engineering is all about innovation and developing solutions to the world’s toughest problems, and I believe that increasing female representation and diversity in the field will only improve the number of ideas, creative minds and amount of knowledge in the engineering workforce.

As a WE student leader my aim is to inspire young girls and women with an interest in STEM to pursue a career in engineering. In high school, many of my peers from my maths and science classes would have made amazing engineers, but never even considered the degree as an option. I hope to reach out to as many young women as possible to teach them what an engineering degree has to offer! Seeing is believing, and I look forward to working in a team with strong role models so that young women can visualise where a career in engineering could take them.