Nicky Eshtiaghi

Doctor of Philosophy (Chemical Engineering)

Nicky Eshtiaghi

Are there any other notable experiences from your time at Monash you’d like to share?

A very vibrant peer-mentorship environment. We often discussed about the problems that we encountered with the Phd students and tried to suggest a solution to each other and give an assistance if possible. Technical team were friendly, and everything can be done quickly.

If you could tell your graduate self one piece of career advice what would it be and why?

Have your 3- 5 years plan ready for action and find a mentor and/or a sponsor.

Congratulations on one of Engineers Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers of 2020? Can you tell us a bit about the award?

Every year, Engineers Australia list 30 Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers who are finding creative and innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. This year women constitutes 25 per cent of engineers featured. I have been honoured to make it to the list due to leading a team for developing a design toolkit for sludge pipeline.

Tell us about your experience since leaving Monash: how has you career progressed to date? Any professional achievements you’d like to share?

I started as a lecturer in Chemical Engineering Discipline of RMIT University immediately after I finished my PhD at Monash. I started with lots of enthusiasm as teaching was my dream career. Our discipline focused more on applied research which I carved a niche area of research by studying the flow behaviour of sludge (solid residue left from wastewater) with the aim of optimizing the energy efficiency of processes in sludge treatment lines. My close collaboration with wastewater treatment plants increased the impact of my work. Being able to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals- SDG 6 (Access to water and basic sanitation) through my research and SDG10 to reduce gender inequality through my involvement for women career advancement are my greatest professional achievements. I am now an Associate Prof. in Chemical Engineering at RMIT, an Engineers Australia Chartered Engineer and Fellow as well as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA, UK) which demonstrate excellent contribution that I made through my research and teaching in the last 10 years.

How has your technical and operational experience assisted you in your role?

I had 6 years’ experience working in petrochemical and powerplant industries before starting PhD at Monash. This experience was helpful to secure my academic position as I had a better prospect of students’ future job as a design or operation engineer. Further improvement of my research skill at Monash was also another pilar of my success in securing and delivering the requirement of my current position.

What are some of your passions and interests?

I believer everyone should have an opportunity to reach their full potentials. This led me to actively participate in advancing careers for women. I am the inaugural chair and one of three co-founders of the Women Researchers’ Network (WRN), an RMIT-wide network of around 500 members. I am also steering committee member of WATTLE (a national program for developing women leadership).