Sophie Driver Political, Economic and Social Science student interviews Lauren Minne, second year Chemical Engineering/Science student for our National Science Week Blog. Both Sophie and Lauren are residents at The Women’s College.
Sophie: Why did you choose engineering as a degree?
Lauren: I quite liked chemistry in school, as well as maths, and felt that this degree combined them nicely. I also felt that chemical engineering, combined with science, would allow me to work in a few different industries, so I wouldn’t be limited once I graduated.
Sophie: What is a normal day like in your degree?
Lauren: I have uni 4 days a week, for a total of around 20 hours, so my days generally start at 8 am with a lecture. After this I have a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals, with a lunch break in the middle of the day.
Sophie: Did you do maths and science in high school? Is there a lot of maths and physics in engineering?
Lauren: I studied maths and chemistry in school, but never took physics (ancient history looked more interesting to me!). The maths in chemical engineering has been pretty straight forward so far, but the physics components have been a bit of a challenge this semester.
Sophie: What is the best part of your degree?
Lauren: I really enjoy that I’ve been able to get to know some of the other people in my course, as all chemical engineers have to do several core subjects. I also find the content of the degree quite interesting, and really appreciate that I haven’t had to write an essay since high school! The way my subjects are taught, with lectures to introduce the content, and then tutorials to consolidate the concepts suits me well, although I still find the large lecture sizes less effective compared to the small classes in high school.
Sophie: What’s the most challenging part of your degree?
Lauren: The high amount of contact hours mean subjects are quite dense and fast paced. Four hour practicals can feel quite lengthy on a Friday afternoon! I have found the increased group work this year a bit of a challenge, but also appreciate that this is preparing me for the way work is conducted in industry (or so I’m told!).
Sophie: What field would you like to work in when you finish uni? What is your dream career?
Lauren: I’m still pretty open as to which field I’d like to work in, but at the moment I’m quite interested in the pharmaceutical industry.
Sophie: What internship opportunities are available for chemical engineering students?
Lauren: Most internships are available at the end of third year. Chemical engineering also offers the MIPPS (Major Industrial Project Placement Scholarship) program, where students spend the first semester of their fourth year working in the industry. For students studying a combined degree with science, there’s also the Summer Research Scholarship program, which I’m hoping to partake in at the end of the year.
Sophie: How have you found the transition from first year to second year?
Lauren: The content of first year chemical engineering subjects was quite general as there was a mix of civil, mechanical and biomedical engineering students, as well as first year science students. Second year subjects include more group work tasks, with the content being more challenging and unique to chemical engineering students.
Sophie: If you weren’t doing an engineering degree, what would you study?
Lauren: I would probably have chosen a psychology, marketing or history degree.
Sophie: And finally, what would you say are the most important things to remember as an engineering student?
Lauren: Stay on top of your lectures, ask for help if you’re not understanding something, and eventually, hard work will always be rewarded. Also, Bernoulli’s equation is pretty important, but hopefully you’ll get that on a formula sheet!