Erin grew up in the Torres Straits in Northern Australia, living on Cray-fishing boats. She didn’t have to wear shoes until she was sent to boarding school for high school. Prior to that, she was home schooled by her mum.
She was very envious – yet admiring – of her father & brothers who could fix just about anything.
Erin graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Engineering in Environmental Engineering (with Honours Class IIA I might add) and has a Masters Degree in Integrated Water Management from the International Water Centre. She has also earned her Certified Practicing Engineer.
Her professional career includes roles with Jacobs, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. She has worked with Engineers without Borders, University of Queensland for Women in Engineering and is in the current intake of Superstar of STEM.
In 2018 Erin started a role in Victoria at Hydrology and Risk Consulting (HARC) as an Experienced Surface Water Engineer specialising in surface water modelling, investigation, planning and design.
Erin’s first role was at a Water Treatment plant where she was solely responsible for running the water treatment and waste water treatment for a week (due to a training schedule mistake!)
Erin did the detailed design of WestConnex Stage 2 which was a highlight of her career. It was her first detailed design project that she worked on from the tender stage to getting the detailed design signed off. “…incredibly technically complicated” “we came up with some fantastically creative solutions to fix some of the issue that we were facing with the design”
Hot Topic discussion
The importance of STEM in education “The whole point about engineering is about solving problems and we need to be solving problems for specific communities and groups… but unless we have that diverse workforce how can we effectively be solving these problems to ensure we are incorporating the needs of remote communities, indigenous communities, people with disabilities. Certainly not just looking at the obvious one which is the gender gap”
“For me the importance of STEM education actually very much links back to that ability to increase the diversity within our workforce.”
STEM in schools gives kids the chance to realise the impact they will have in their community
You need a consistent number of people to be coming through STEM, otherwise the industry will be in a situation where the only engineers available are retiring or just starting out.
Erin urges “It’s important that engineers are taking the time to go to schools … have that talk with the kids about what you do”
During this podcast, you will also reflect on:
Erin goes into detail about what her role as a Surface Water Engineer does. It includes looking at the movement (and modelling) of water
Mel discusses having recently seen a TEDx Talk about a park in Bangkok that was created around the movement of water during flood episodes.
Erin loves the diversity that comes with her job. The different types of jobs and projects she has been able to work on. She loves solving problems.
Looking back on her life growing up, Erin now realises what a huge impact the engineers around her had.
The future of engineering both scares and excites Erin. “There are some serious challenges we are going to be facing in the future, particularly within the water industry. We are going to have some very complex problems”
The future of water is such a huge and concerning future that both Dom & Erin agree “you can live without power, but you can’t live without water…. it’s not until you get into a remote community that you realise just how important clean water is to everyone” (Dom)
For people considering engineering “Embrace every opportunity. It is such a diverse and interesting career that there is never a linear path”
An engineering item for discussion… Erin gets excited about many things, such as traditional fish traps or bridges. However, at the moment dams are
An engineer to admire… “The importance of inspirational people within your life and your career and how that changes throughout the progression of your career as well”
Her father – although not an engineer – is someone with the qualities that admired and inspired her to become an engineer.
Her team leader when Erin started at consulting – Fiona Stark – gave her the opportunity in her career to take ownerships and risks, with the ability to fail with a safety net
Currently Erin admires and gets so much inspiration from the students she meets and talks to.
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