Lucinda Le Bas
Lucinda Le BasSpecialisation: Materials Engineering and Finance
Student type: Domestic
Year of study: Fifth year of a Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce
What I’ve done whilst completing my degree:
I’ve previously done placements in Technology Consulting with Accenture and Process Engineering with Fortescue Metals Group where I worked in mining in the Pilbara in Western Australia. Next year, I am completing an internship with Defence Science and Technology in their Aircraft Forensics team. To me, these placements highlight the diverse opportunities than can stem from a degree in engineering.
"To be honest, I didn’t really know what being an engineer meant in school, I just enjoyed when my physics teacher, who previously worked in mining engineering, would tell stories about blowing up mines in Kalgoorlie."
◈ So why engineering? What attracted you to it as a career?
I find learning about a process from start to finish satisfying as it makes a lot of sense to me. In school, I enjoyed physics and loved to watch Grand Designs to see what type of innovative materials they would use in design – so engineering was a natural fit for me.
◈ Who was your biggest influencer, the person that supported your decision to study engineering?
Definitely my year 12 physics teacher – it was solely because of her that I decided to study Engineering! To be honest, I didn’t really know what being an engineer meant in school, I just enjoyed when my physics teacher, who previously worked in mining engineering, would tell stories about blowing up mines in Kalgoorlie.
◈ Why did you choose engineering at Monash, what was the tipping point, the thing that made you decide it was for you?
The general first year in engineering was something that really drew me to Monash. As I didn’t really know what was involved in engineering I didn’t feel ready to pinpoint which stream I wanted to do. It was great as it allowed me to try a range of things.
Another factor that influenced my decision was the opportunity to do a double degree at Monash. I am also completing a commerce degree, majoring in finance. I think that knowledge from commerce and engineering work really well together. From engineering, you get a technical understanding specifically related to your future role at work, and from commerce, you get a more broader understanding of how businesses operate. Past vacation work experience has highlighted to me the importance of this dual understanding.
Now that I’m in my fifth year at Monash, I value my decision because of all the other opportunities that have been made available to me in my degree, aside from coursework. Last year, I studied abroad at the National University of Singapore which is a leading university for materials engineering in Asia – an incredible opportunity. This year, I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients of the ExxonMobil Award for Excellence – just one of the many scholarships available to penultimate students through the engineering faculty. Another thing I value is the support from Monash – through programs offered such as Work Ready. It was actually through the mock interviews for this program that I got my first summer placement with Accenture in technology consulting.
◈ What’s the best thing about engineering?
The way it teaches you to problem solve.
◈ How do you think we can make girls at school consider engineering as a career, alongside traditional areas like medicine or law?
That’s a difficult one – I think in school we come into contact with doctors and lawyers which means we have a much better understanding of what their jobs entail, whereas we’re much less likely to need the services of an engineer. Programs such as Robogals and the Engineers Without Borders School Outreach Program are definitely a step in the right direction to give students exposure to engineering. I think that perhaps promoting the diverse range of pathways a degree in engineering can take you is important too – engineering provides you with a set of problem-solving skills that can be applied to a range of situations.
◈ What is one piece of advice you’d give to a girl thinking about engineering as a career? Or a girl who enjoys STEM subjects?
Perseverance is key.
◈ What inspires you to keep on questioning?
The constant new and innovative developments in engineering – I want to be a part of it!
◈ If you could solve one problem that we face in our day to day lives, what would it be?
Why isn’t there an appropriate (in regard to properties and cost for production etc.) transparent material that can be used for toasters yet?