Senior Project Engineer
Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
Julia is a Senior Project Engineer at ANSTO, one of Australia’s largest public research organisations and the operator of one of the world’s most modern research reactors. In her time there, she has gained experience in nuclear and mechanical design, as well as managing custom design and infrastructure projects.
Julia studied at the University of Melbourne where she obtained a Master of Engineering (Mechanical) and Bachelor of Science (Mechanical Systems). Julia is currently the chair of the Young Engineers Australia (YEA) Sydney division and the President of the Australian Young Generation in Nuclear.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I have been volunteering for EA since August 2015, when I first moved to Sydney and joined the Young Engineers Australia Sydney Committee.
Why did you become a volunteer?
I had just moved to Sydney and wanted to do something that would allow me to meet interesting and inspiring new people, as well as allow me to broaden my understanding of the engineering industry in Sydney.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I find working with the YEA committee incredibly invigorating. Everyone within the team is passionate about promoting and supporting young engineers. I also enjoy the opportunity to be innovative in the ways in which to engage and grow young engineers, in order to remain relevant within such an ever-changing industry.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I could list a number of fantastic events that we’ve run over the past few years. However, in all honesty I would say it’s developing the young engineers within the committee. It’s great to work with them to produce events and activities in-line with the fantastic, different ideas they come up with and, ultimately, seeing their confidence in their own abilities grow.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
A large amount of focus for the events we do is around producing events and activities that directly relate to supporting young engineers in the challenges that they face within their career. My own career and challenges that I have faced has informed my understanding of what support young engineers need and perhaps aren’t able to receive elsewhere.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
I work to recognise in advance what my capacity is at any given time and structure my volunteer activities around that.
I’m also fortunate to have a team to work alongside, so that as myself or others in the team get busy with work, we’re able to spread the volunteering workload amongst ourselves.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
I’d tell them that it’s absolutely worth it and to find an area you’re passionate about. Volunteering is an opportunity to flex your own ideas and creative licence. Each person is a goldmine of ideas, so speak up and share them. Though now that I think about it, that applies for the workplace as well. I’d also say volunteering is a chance to exercise your skills and gain expertise in areas that run parallel with work but maybe you wouldn’t normally get to do through work.
Image: courtesy of Julia Garside