Samantha Chapman

GradIEAust

Graduate Civil Engineer

GHD

One of Tasmania’s growing number of active, young engineers, Samantha Chapman now represents Tasmania on the Young Engineers Australia National Committee.

Samantha Chapman graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) in December 2018. During her degree Samantha undertook several professional placements at GHD, where she now works as a Graduate Civil Engineer.

Samantha has been involved in Engineers Australia throughout her time at university as a Student Ambassador for the University of Tasmania. After being involved with the Young Engineers Australia Tasmania Committee since its inception, Samantha now represents Tasmania on the Young Engineers Australia National Committee.

How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I became a member of Engineers Australia during my second year of University. Shortly after I became Student Ambassador (at the time called Campus Coordinator). In my final year of university I joined the Young Engineers Australia Tasmania committee.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I had always enjoyed maths and physics subjects during my high school education. I wasn’t sure which career path I wished to take, but due to my interest in these subjects I was strongly encouraged to try engineering. I originally enrolled at university with the intention of studying bio-medical engineering, but after much consideration and discussion with recent graduates I decided Civil Engineering may be a specialisation I was more interested in. I was fortunate enough to receive a summer placement at GHD in Civil Engineering, and left the placement with a confidence in my decision to pursue Civil Engineering after thoroughly enjoying the projects I participated in.

Samantha Chapman

How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
In my short time in the industry I have learnt it is important as a civil engineer to consider the wider community effects of designs and developments. As an engineer working in consulting I work on projects that are typically proposed by others, however with the solutions that I create I hope to consider greater community and society benefits.

Working in civil infrastructure and the transportation sector, my work can have direct impacts on the community. I enjoy that I work in an area that is so directly connected to improving community amenity.

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
In my final year of study, I undertook an external honours project with GHD. For my honours I completed a study of inner-city parking and its impacts on the road network in the Hobart CBD. As a part of this I was provided access to the Department of State Growth’s Hobart Mesoscopic Model to complete my testing.

The model allows testing of future transport scenarios on the existing Hobart CBD network. This was a great opportunity and I have since been able to work on the Launceston Hybrid Model and Hobart Mesoscopic and Hybrid Models looking at impacts of new developments on the transport networks.

It was rewarding to have a research project with such a direct real-world application and to look at the potential impacts the scenarios I created could have on the traffic in Hobart. These models are a great tool that can assist in understanding how road networks behave under different conditions.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
I think one of the challenges at the moment for engineers is the need to find sustainable solutions. For civil engineers I think there is a focus away from infrastructure-based solutions towards optimising infrastructure utilisation.

Similarly in transport, whilst it is important to provide a transportation network that supplies an adequate level of service, it is also necessary to consider the capacity to affect behavioural changes and shift people away from single occupancy vehicle use and to instead consider more sustainable solutions.

I think this challenge is one of the exciting things about working in a changing and evolving industry.

What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
As a young engineer and new graduate I am very excited for the opportunities ahead for both my personal career and the future of the profession. The exciting aspect about engineering, and something that attracted me to the profession, is the rapid growth and change in the field.

I am excited to have such diverse career opportunities ahead of me and opportunities to travel and work in broader Australia as well as internationally.

Who is your engineering hero?
Personally, I do not have one ‘engineering hero’. I am lucky in the opportunities I have had this early in my career, both through my work and my involvement in Engineers Australia, to have been exposed to so many great engineers that inspire me.

Image Source: Courtesy of Samantha Chapman