Anne-Leven Marcon is in her final year studying a Bachelor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney. Her passion for sustainability led her to chemical engineering, but this is just one facet of her studies: she will graduate this year with a double degree in arts and engineering. Anne sat down with create to share what she’s learned and what comes next.
Q1: What is the most valuable thing about studying engineering?
It teaches you how to think and solve problems. I particularly like the way chemical engineering teaches you to think in terms of processes, which I think is a valuable skill no matter what career you end up in. Studying engineering has also taught me to be curious about how things work and to be unafraid to ask questions.
Q2: What is your ideal job?
Anything related to sustainability! I chose to study chemical engineering as I was very excited about the growing sustainability-related opportunities in this field. I have really enjoyed learning the different sustainability-focused applications of chemical engineering at uni and would be interested to work in recycling, wastewater treatment, or even hydrogen production — to name a few!
Q3: Who are two engineers you most admire and why?
The engineer I admire the most is my dad, who also studied chemical engineering. He has always been there to cheer me on and offer wisdom, whether it be a simple mass balance or my final year thesis project. He has held onto all of his old textbooks which I have found myself flipping through when I want to do some extra practice questions or learn more about a topic.
The other engineers I admire are my classmates. We have made it through our engineering studies together from first-year linear algebra to our final-year design projects, and I could not have asked for a better group of people to have by my side. There has not been a single engineering subject throughout my degree where I have not had to ask a friend how they solved a problem or if they could explain a concept to me. This degree has really taught me the value of teamwork and sharing knowledge, and I am so thankful to all of my classmates who have been on the journey with me.
Q4: If not engineering, what else would you have studied?
Alongside science and maths, I have always had a love of learning about art and history. Luckily for me, the University of Sydney offers double degrees in arts and engineering so I didn’t need to decide. This degree combo has found me designing distillation columns in one class and learning about Australia’s Great Emu War in the next.
Q5: Favourite subject in your engineering course and why?
My favourite subject has been my thesis unit. For my project I was placed with a water utility in rural NSW for six months, testing out a new filter media product in a pilot plant. This project was super exciting because this media product hadn’t been tested for drinking water treatment in Australia prior to my thesis. I had the most amazing time planning and executing my own project and experiencing life in the country. I am very grateful to the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney for this opportunity and would highly recommend anyone studying engineering to seek out internship and work experience opportunities in rural NSW.
Q6: What is the most important thing you will look for in an employer?
I will be looking for an innovative workplace culture. Engineering is all about making the world we live in a better place and I believe that curiosity and constant innovation are the keys to this. In my future career, I am excited to trial and test new things and I want to have room to constantly develop my skills and grow.