To celebrate National Student Volunteer Week (9-15 August), create spoke with four current and former Engineers Australia student ambassadors to find out what makes them tick.
Engineers Australia has 160 student ambassadors at universities across the country, plus more internationally. They help to promote the organisation on campus and in return get a free membership when they graduate — plus a whole lot more.
Springboard to success
University of Technology Sydney civil and structural engineering student Sydney Daelo decided to volunteer as a student ambassador to become more connected with the wider engineering industry.
“As an EA ambassador, I provide the link between the engineering students at my university and the organisation,” she told create. “This means that I promote and coordinate upcoming EA events that are relevant to engineering students.”
Daelo also collaborates with other student ambassadors on events, including social get togethers, industry webinars, guest presentations, faculty events and careers workshops.
“I wanted to help spread the word within my university about the wide range of opportunities and resources that students can attain as a member of Engineers Australia, such as invitations to exclusive networking opportunities, gaining access to a variety of resources that can help them upskill beyond their university degree and throughout their entire career,” she said.
With an interest in sustainable transport infrastructure, Daelo wants to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. Already receiving a graduate offer at an engineering consultancy firm as a structural engineer, she has made the most of her network to map out her career.
“After gaining a few years of technical experience, I aspire to transition to a project management role, utilising my leadership and organisational skills to deliver high-quality engineering solutions,” she added.
For Murdoch University graduate Brice Gower, volunteering has always been the ideal method of working out whether something is right for him. He signed on as an Engineers Australia ambassador to gain valuable experience for potential employers.
“Being a student ambassador is for engineering students who want to gain experience leading and managing people, or networking and interacting with experienced professionals,” he said.
“What I appreciate most about my time as an ambassador was the opportunity to act as a leader and help other people find opportunities, as well as meeting high-performing professionals who had accomplished great things in their careers.”
Gower still keeps in contact with mentors he met through Engineers Australia events, taking their guidance in co-founding his firm Augment Technologies, which applies artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain and robotics technologies to solve complex and high-value problems.
He honed his entrepreneurial skills during his time as an ambassador, trying new avenues to bring in more commercial engagement with Murdoch’s students.
“I had the most success entering hackathons with a diverse team of students, leading a team of three different engineering majors into a hackathon as ‘Team Murdoch’, where we won first prize,” he said.
“This gave us great exposure to the mining industry and helped engage all of us with vacation work opportunities. I later built on this success to bring three more hackathons to Murdoch to give other students opportunities to engage with industry.”
Connecting across borders
Leading a committee team of six people at Engineers Australia’s Student Society at the Swinburne University of Technology campus located in Sarawak, Malaysia, Jaclyn Lo Yen Tching was determined to have a university life filled with experiences, not just academic studies.
“I think the best thing about volunteering and participating in various events is to meet people from all walks of life,” she said. “It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make valuable connections and has broadened my horizons.”
On campus, Tching is responsible for leading committee meetings, delegating duties and providing support to the committees in their role. She also liaises with the student council for on-campus events, and acts as a representative to external bodies.
In promoting Engineers Australia’s student membership, the committee team provides guidance to access the resources available, so members can better benefit from the membership.
“Overall, the experience has also made me a more confident person and built up soft skills which I believe will be valuable in the future,” she said. “As such, I would strongly recommend students to volunteer as an Engineers Australia student ambassador or join the Engineers Australia student society.”
Tching said the ambassador program had honed her skills, such as leadership and communication, and helped her to become more outgoing.
“Beyond personal development, it feels great to be a part of a team that brings activities that can provide value to the student community,” she added.
Making a difference
Since Hardy Hu (pictured above) joined the Engineers Australia community as an ambassador at University of Adelaide, he has been offered many opportunities to develop his professional profile.
“I was amazed and impressed by how Engineers Australia is making a great impact on the development of the engineering profession, both technically and generally,” he said.
“I really want to pay it back by sharing the messages to my peers on just how much it could be a source of support for their professional growth and assist them to achieve their career goals.”
Hu’s role involves representing Engineers Australia on campus to help fellow student engineers understand how membership can aid in their professional development, and assisting with student-focused networking events.
“Some of the highlights of my ambassador journey so far include assisting at the Elevation career fair, as well as representing Engineers Australia at the first year civil, environmental and mining engineering students university welcome talk,” he said.
Hu has enjoyed gaining soft skills and more knowledge about the profession, and his contacts through his ambassador role also landed him an internship.
“I like to say that there are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them. Even though we are just students, we can make a difference to our community and profession,” he said.
“Volunteering gives you a lot in return, too. There’s great pleasure from making an impact on the community and people who matter to you, and you won’t believe how many great people you will meet and how much you will learn and grow from your volunteering experiences.”