13 Women Shaping our Communities

At WSP, our people are our greatest asset. We are committed to building an inclusive culture that respects and maximises the contribution of all employees.

To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we’ve put together a stellar list of engineers who are helping to shape a future ready tomorrow for communities all over Australia.

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Kate Summers

Technical Executive – Power Operations, VIC & SA

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I decided to become an engineer at the age of 28, I was teaching Alpine skiing at the time.

I wanted a degree with a career path, something that would challenge me and was not in a traditional female role. Something that would enable making a difference from the inside.

Girls were not offered the choice of engineering when I finished school, I had to have enough belief in my own ability to get into a course. I had to relearn mathematics and pick up physics to get in.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

I have several. Being able to see through the complexity of the power system and the market structures to identify the fundamentals, and understand what has happened to power system control theory.

I also love contributing to the transition to clean energy, abseiling of a wind turbine for heights training and fixing controls in the power system to make it work better.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Being awarded the National Professional Electrical Engineer of the Year 2020.

Underlying this award is the work that I did on identifying the root cause of the loss of frequency control on the eastern seaboard. It was something that I did not have to do but was frustrated with the lack of sound engineering understanding within the system operator.


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Teresa Tran

Civil Engineer, Transport Roads Aviation & Civil, NSW

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I loved pulling things apart and attempting to put them back together as a child and enjoyed science and maths in school.

Engineering is a way to apply these interests, coupled with my desire to create positive change to the real world.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

At the moment, it’s being able to work with people from varying backgrounds so I’m constantly learning new things!

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Can I pick two?

Seeing my own package of work come to life on Newcastle Light Rail and connecting with the community at Project Briefings while on secondment to TfNSW for M12.


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Linnea Eriksson

Graduate Acoustic Engineer, Property & Buildings

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I wanted to become an engineer to help solve problems, whether small or big, in our society. 

I always wanted a job that allowed for change and mobility so that I could keep exploring different areas. In my six years since graduating, I have already worked as an engineer in three different industries - so I think I’ve definitely found a profession that allows that.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

As you might already have guessed, what I love most in my job is the diversity in assignments and opportunity for development. 

In a workday, I can do anything from running 3D noise modelling for wastewater plants, to installing sound level meters in Commonwealth Park in order to determine whether an event is harmful to a bat’s colony.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Being one of the key people in developing a method for analysing and reporting for a new type of project. 

At the end of last year, we got a project regarding noise monitoring of events with high noise impact in Commonwealth park, Canberra. The aim was to determine together with Environmental Consultants the effect events with high noise impact has on a vulnerable bat species, the grey headed flying-fox. 

This was a new and very unique project, so we needed to build up the analysis and the reporting from scratch, which we did with a very positive response from our client.


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Kimberly Lam

Senior Environmental Engineer, Contaminated Lands Management, QLD

Why did you want to become an engineer?

To combine my passion of applied science with travel, meeting new people and making a positive contribution to the environment we live in.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

Solving problems!

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Obtaining my Project Management Professional accreditation and participating in Brisbane’s Project Management Institute Day of Service event for the last two years.


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Vanina Varnier

Transport Planner, Transport Planning and Mobility, QLD

Why did you want to become an engineer?

During high school, I really enjoyed science, learning how things work and the critical thinking involved.

In the end, being able to help solve problems lead me down the path of becoming an engineer.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

Being a part of transport advisory, it’s quite fulfilling to solve problems that have an impact on almost everyone.

Being able to contribute to sustainable transport, whether it be for pedestrians, cyclists or public transport, is always rewarding.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

My proudest achievement to date would have to be my involvement in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Being a part of the public transport planning team, we were responsible for getting the transport network ready for over one million spectators. Getting to see all that hard work come to fruition during the Games was truly memorable.


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Rebecca Warren

Senior Acoustic Engineer, Property & Buildings

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I’m a very analytical person and have always been good at science and maths; I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but found the idea of being able to get under the bonnet of concepts and problems fascinating.

I like to think of engineering as problem solving and optimising solutions. It takes a bit of training to get your brain thinking like an engineer, but it opens a lot of doors in all kinds of fields.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

It’s always a challenge, and there are so many opportunities available for you if you have the courage to stand up, speak up and put yourself forward.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Being seconded to my first construction site; I was living and breathing noise and vibration management for three months and it was fascinating to see where my work fit into the larger scope of a state-level infrastructure project.

I was one of three women face to face with the community and the regulators, communicating project milestones and managing expectations.

The project went like clockwork, milestones met, stakeholders were happy, and I finally felt like women were not just accepted but welcome and expected to be part of the industry.


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Emma Grogan

Civil Engineer, Property Specialist, WA

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I wanted to become an engineer because of my Year 10 physics teacher. One day he suggested I attend an engineering summer camp at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Before then I knew I wanted to do something involving maths and science, but I didn’t even know that engineering was a career option. I went on the camp, and that was it, I wanted to be an engineer.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

I’m not sure I can limit it to one thing.

I find my job super interesting. I like that I am using my engineering skills to try and improve things for remote communities and that this involves looking at a variety of conditions and issues.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

I’m proud that I was able to take my engineering skills from Australia and apply them by volunteering in the Solomon Islands.

Then I was able to take the skills I’ve developed volunteering and apply them in my current role at WSP.


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Anne Reeve

Graduate Hydraulic/Fire Engineer, Property & Buildings

Why did you want to become an engineer?

Since I was a child I liked finding solutions for problems, using whatever tools I had available. So, when I was a teenager, I discovered an engineer’s job was to find solutions using science, technology and maths to solve problems.

As a result, I was keen to work in an area that would give me the scope to improve my problem-solving skills and to solve problems. I subsequently decided to study mechanical engineering as this gave me a broad scope to solve problems in a variety of areas.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

Every project is different and always brings a new type of challenge, which makes it exciting. I am always learning and it is never uninteresting.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

My proudest achievement was I when I got a scholarship to study Mechanical Engineering in Australia for a year and a half.

I fell in love with the country and decided to stay, live and work here. This was a great decision and led me to have great work opportunities such as working at WSP and being involved in many interesting projects.


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Kate Hofmeyer

Systems Engineer, Rail

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I’ve always loved maths, science and solving problems logically. I saw engineering as a way to explore all these disciplines while also being challenged and creating change.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

The diverse and intelligent group of colleagues I get to work with each day. This gives me the chance to always be learning from others both professionally and personally.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Successfully delivering some key pieces of work on Auckland’s City Rail Link in New Zealand.


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Melissa Bong

Graduate Engineer, Rail,

Why did you want to become an engineer?

Truthfully, I hadn’t thought about engineering as an option until last minute in the university application process.

I was always driven to have a career with purpose, so I went to speak to a few friends and university advisors. They made me realized that engineering was all about critical thinking, creativity, innovation and basically making cool things to help people – so I pursued a mechanical/aerospace degree. I thought fast cars and planes were really cool.

Through my studies and into the beginning of my career, I’ve found that engineering is everything I wanted in a career. It’s not only been interesting and challenging but I feel as though my work has an actual impact on the community and the people within it.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

In general, the engineering design work is interesting and challenging however, I mainly enjoy the flexibility and diversity of the role.

As I learn and develop more skills I am able to fit into different teams and help out in projects I previously didn’t think I had a place in. Also, the team is awesome, the collaborative work environment fosters a healthy drive for personal growth and professional development.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

It would probably be organizing and running a rural school outreach day at the Temora Aviation Museum with Power of Engineering. Going out with fellow WSP employees and other engineering professionals to speak to students who wouldn’t have considered university or engineering as an option before, and sharing my experience was great.

It’s wonderful to hear feedback that we truly had an impact on the students, with the schools reporting increased numbers of students enrolling in STEM subjects for year 11 and 12, as well as taking up mechanical engineering trainee ships at the aviation museum.


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Rene Du Buisson

Team Manager, Civil/Hydraulics, Water, QLD

Why did you want to become an engineer?

For me, civil engineering was really seeing my Dad do his job. Those days, giving away my age here, construction safety was a very different concept and site visits were quite enjoyable as a kid. On top of that, I remembered the smell of the plans and tender documents, which we used for scrap paper.

On a more serious note, Engineering really found me. I was not sure what University course to apply for, and ended up choosing engineering, by way of excluding everything else I did not like. In the end that worked out well because being an engineer makes me want to come to work every day.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

The diversity in tasks, being able to jump from reviewing budgets one moment, to attending a safety-in-design workshop next and then to discuss ways to avoid community impacts.

Sometimes the different engineering hats I wear get all mixed up, but that is exactly what I like. Another favourite thing is the opportunity to learn and never stop learning, there is always someone who knows more than you about something.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Being part of a recent D&C tender and winning it as part of a collaborative, high performing team.

The tender and delivery process challenged me on many levels and I have obtained valuable skills, both professionally and personally.

I also feel proud that we could start this delivery program during the COVID-19 period, in a remote working environment and hit the ground running in collaboration with the client.


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May-Wen Yeoh

Civil Design Engineer, Transport Roads Aviation & Civil, NSW

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I enjoyed physics in high school and engineering seemed like a good way to use that interest to help people. The alternative was medicine, but my marks weren’t high enough for that!

 

Favourite thing about your job?

Every project is different; you never get bored because every problem is new and unique.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Seeing photos of massive culverts being built on Inland Rail:P2N. This project has been my drainage/flooding baby since 2017!


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Cecilia Tagure

Senior Engineer - Hydraulics, Property & Buildings

Why did you want to become an engineer?

Growing up in a frugal community, I remember coming up with engineering. I thought, that this would extricate my parents from additional expenses. This motivated me to pursue engineering, as I found my ideas and creations bring me self-fulfilment.

Engineering shapes the society in a multitude of ways for the welfare of mankind through innovation, construction, research, design, and safety. I wanted to forward these services to my family, community, the world, and in my own home.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

I enjoy providing win-win solutions to every engineering issues during the design and construction stage.

 

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Sharing my engineering expertise in a third world country and encouraging its citizens to develop the country to be environmentally friendly and sustainable.


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