Continuing our celebration of this year’s NAIDOC week theme — Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! — create spoke to Miranda Mahoney, a Graduate Civil Engineer at AECOM Brisbane and proud Bidjara woman whose Country is centred around Charleville in Central West Queensland, about how Engineering Aid Australia has fostered her career as an engineer.
In Miranda’s words
I’m lucky Engineering Aid started me on this awesome journey.
My physics teacher gave me a flyer for the Indigenous Australian Engineering Schools (IAES) in 2015 and I thought ‘this is pretty cool.’ I went along and found it really interesting.
I was deciding between physiotherapy and engineering, and it was only physiotherapy because my mum did it. I realised the engineering profession has this massive ability to change peoples’ lives — to change the world. I thought, ‘I want to change the world in my own way and do something that has a bigger impact.’
At the IAES, we got to see all the different disciplines, which made me feel I had so many options for my life and career. It was hard to choose what major to do after going to that camp.
I then applied to the University of Queensland and became a part of the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program, which IAES introduced me to. CareerTrackers supported me through university and helped me secure an internship at AECOM. I’ve been here for almost six years. I love it.
I’m on the AECOM waste management team. We help councils or people manage their waste and contaminated land, close landfills and turn them into parks.
Luckily enough, we’ve recently been involved in a project in Far North Queensland helping remote communities look at their waste management. I also do stormwater engineering projects to gain a breadth of experience, because as a graduate, we must learn as much as we can.
Having more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engineers creates diversity, which is important because if you have voices from different backgrounds, you learn more and think of different ways to do things.
Sometimes if you’ve got the same people in the room, they just throw the same ideas around. But if you have someone of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who might have lived on Country or knows what life is like on Country, they can bring a different perspective.
I say to Indigenous students that a career in engineering can take you anywhere. You could be in the city, work out on Country, or work overseas. It’s really broad and you will meet heaps of amazing people.
For more NAIDOC Week stories, read how Engineering Aid Australia inspired: