I wasn’t raised in Canberra. I moved from Auckland New Zealand to study at ANU, and lived on campus when I first came here. Because Canberra is such a small place and everyone living on campus generally comes elsewhere, it was easy to make new friends and feel connected to the ANU community. I chose ANU because it’s a prestigious and top-ranked Australian uni, well known for its research and opportunities provided to students.
Why engineering? It starts with the typical “I was fairly good in maths & physics”. I was the Dux Litterarum — first in my year group in final year of high school — and received a physics subject scholarship in my final year of the NCEA (high school examination), and I really enjoyed problem solving.
Towards the end of my high school years I was actively reaching out to decide on what to study in my tertiary years. I participated in a ‘Women in Engineering program’ back in Auckland, and it motivated me to study engineering.
My favourite course is the Robotics course (ENGN4627) for engineering. It opened the doors of robotics where I’ve built a good and solid foundational knowledge. My love for robotics led me to doing my honours (individual research) project with lecturer Professor Rob Mahony and tutor Dr Pieter van Goor of the robotics course last year, and I am really grateful for the support and guidance from them throughout the project.
My individual research project was on the ‘Application of an Equivariant Filter on Ardupilot for State Estimation’, which I have actually received an Ian Ross Honours Scholarship for. It’s an implementation of a novel algorithm on a real-world application that allows Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or otherwise known as drones, to estimate its own states such as its altitude, position and velocity.
I wanted to contribute and give back to the engineering cohort so in this semester, I’m actually a tutor for the robotics course and I hope to help spark student’s interests in robotics. I also wanted to thank Professor Rob Mahony especially as he made me aware of this opportunity to attend the Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia Canberra Summit this year.
I am also thankful to other lecturers for my other courses, such as the microprocessor course and the system engineering set of courses. They have equipped me with the knowledge on the approaches in solving an engineering problem, help me build the engineering intuitions which I think is most valuable and a good soft skill to have. Without them, I wouldn’t see myself where I am today.
I really enjoyed my individual research project last year where I learnt many research skills from my supervisors. I want to extend my interest in research, so I’m currently looking to apply for a HDR.
In 5-years-time, hopefully I would’ve completed my PhD and I would envisage myself to continue the research pathway in the field of robotics/UAVs/computer vision, and I would like to consider the option of being a postdoc research fellow. I found myself to enjoy teaching students while I was a tutor, so I would also consider being part of the teaching team in a lecturer role. I’m not at all set in where I want be in the future – I look forward to the opportunities along my PhD journey.
The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science recently sponsored Angela and Sophie, another final year engineering student, to attend the 2022 Women in Aviation/Aerospace Canberra Summit. This year’s summits, which are held around Australia, reflect on the International Women’s Day theme #BreaktheBias.
Here Angela reflects on her experience.
I had the privilege to attend the Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia Canberra Summit held at the lovely National Museum of Australia — which is only a few minutes’ walk from the ANU campus. During the day, defence and industry speakers gave a talk about their aspirations, their journey in the A/A sector and the opportunities.
Although the summit is about women's under-representation in the sector, both the panel of speakers and the audience have diverse backgrounds in gender, age, and experience. Their speeches continued to highlight the theme, inspiring the audience to be authentic. I’ve realised the importance of having the correct mindset – being authentic means that we don’t need to ‘fit’ the industry, we should be proud of who we are, and diversity is often the key to success.
The speakers also shared their key insights on what makes them who they are now. The most valuable takeaway from the summit for me is about mentorship. They have mentioned the influence of mentors and what we can gain from such relationships. Reflecting on my own experience, I am thankful for my mentors who have encouraged me to overcome the struggles during my study. It has inspired me to become a mentor myself in the future, where I can contribute and feed back to the system.
After the conclusion of the event, I left the museum with the vision of a bright future ahead of us – these leaders will lead us towards a brilliant and innovative A/A industry, where in the foreseeable future the A/A Canberra summits will be celebrating achievements and showcasing industry opportunities.
In a few years’ time, I hope to follow suit in their ambitions for the industry, becoming a role model for others myself. In this busy final semester of my undergraduate study, dedicating some time to reflect on my own career pathway and gaining insights from the panel of speakers has been a valuable experience, and I want to thank CECS for providing such an opportunity.