“Hey Claire, do you know how to fix my car?”

I’m a fifth year engineering student and I’m asked that question pretty often. Although I study mechanical and materials engineering, I actually have absolutely no idea how to fix a car and probably never will.

Also, I don’t wear hi-vis and a hard hat; I don’t sit alone doing maths all day; and I don’t think I will ever do these things!

Instead, I creatively solve complex problems.

I’ve designed and manufactured a mini sail boat, travelled to Cambodia to develop sustainable solutions for a rural community and I am currently undertaking research linked to forensic science.

I want to share with you my path to discovering engineering, and realising that it is so much more than what I first thought.

I went to an all-girls school and I really enjoyed all types of science.

My teachers and friends encouraged me to study either science or medicine, but neither of these options made me excited.

The (probably very naïve) idea of studying science and working in a dark room wearing a lab coat seemed like the most boring job ever to me. I loved the applied nature of medicine, but memorizing anatomy and dealing with the gory aspects of it was not my cup of tea either.

Engineering was also in the ‘no’ pile. It ticked the box for being an applied science, but, to me, building skyscrapers didn’t seem all that important in the scheme of things.

I wanted to solve the big problems, like looking after the environment and providing clean water sources.

When I was in year 11, my physics class attended GET Set at ANU. We spent the day speaking to current engineering students, university academics and actually solving some real world problems.

I clearly remember standing amongst solar panels on a roof of one of the buildings, working with a team of girls to solve a problem, and having a real ‘AHA!’ moment.

Engineering is something that combines science, creativity and team work with the intent to solve complex, and often really important problems.

Engineering has impact.

GET Set at ANU sold me on engineering at ANU, and I’ve never looked back. I moved engineering straight to the top of the ‘yes’ pile and started researching the different types of engineering.

This year is the 10th annual GET Set. If you think science or engineering is for you, or if you are just curious about what opportunities are available, then I highly recommend attending.

Myself and other female students will be with you for the day, so you’ll have the opportunity to pick our brains and see what opportunities lie ahead.

I really can’t begin to explain how many surprising careers you can follow with an engineering degree from the ANU! Hopefully I’ll have the chance meet you at GET Set and hear about why you are considering engineering.

Updated:  8 September 2015/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing