Demystifying Environmental Engineering

As a young professional, Zoe McLaughlin, an Environmental Engineer in our Sydney office, brings ingenuity and energy to the workforce.

Beginning with our Contaminated Land Management team in 2015 as an intern, she quickly realised her passion was in environmental planning due to the variety of technical disciplines it involves and ability to work on major multi-disciplinary infrastructure projects.

 

She transitioned to our Environmental Planning team as a graduate in 2017 and says “my current role has aspects of environmental impact assessment, project management, specialist coordination and business development, which means no day is the same and the opportunity to learn and grow is immense.”

 

If we can better explain what engineering is to girls at school, and how diverse it really is, then we will be much better off in the future and can help remove the sub-conscious bias.
Zoe McLaughlin Environmental Engineer

 

Zoe believes her love of human interaction is what keeps her energy high. “I love networking and aim to be a link between engineering and environmental planning,” she admits. “I want to be the person that people know to go to, and the person who has the skills and knowledge to combine and connect several WSP services.” She believes that utilising the full benefits of our multi-disciplinary firm is a key to our success.

 

As an active member in the industry and ‘Students and Early Careers Lead’ on the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand’ (EIANZ) committee, Zoe uses her connections to further the development of young professionals in the environment industry, including by running a successful mentoring program.

 

She says that her own mentoring relationships, from the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and WSP mentoring programs, have been very important to help her develop her career. “Mentors have helped me to learn negotiation skills, which I think are especially important for females in a male-dominated industry.”

 

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Speaking in terms of gender-balance, Zoe believes that the conversation needs to begin at school, so that generational change can happen. “If we can better explain what engineering is to girls at school, and how diverse it really is, then we will be much better off in the future and can help remove the sub-conscious bias”. Using herself as an example, she says she “grew up misunderstanding what a career in engineering could look like” as she thought it was only “hard-hats and buildings”. She only found out that environmental engineering existed when her careers advisor at high-school urged her to consider it for university.

 

In her day-to-day life, Zoe is also an active traveller and a passionate Scout. She adds. “I love scouts because it gets you into the outdoors, allows you to meet people from all over the world and you get to learn all kinds of new skills.” Combining her love of travel and scouts, her trip to Iceland for the World Scout Moot in 2018 will remain a lifetime memory.

 

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