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THE AGE Saturday, March 26, 2011
mycareer.com.au 13 22 43
"When I was in high school I didn't understand
the range of things that engineers could do."
Dr Lisa Lowe, a
Lisa finds her
Looking for a job in engineering? Go to mycareer.com.au
There is a basic human urge to
get out there and "do
something". What you choose
to do depends largely on what you
know, on what you don't know, and
of course on what you don't know
you don't know.
"When I was in high school I
didn't understand the range of
things that engineers could do,"
Lisa Lowe recalls.
"I wanted to be a schoolteacher,
but my maths teacher's husband,
also a maths teacher, had been an
engineer, and I thought it was
fantastic that he had gone out and
applied the maths before teaching
it, and decided I would do that too.
''But when I started working as an
engineer I found I had a real passion
for it, and haven't looked back."
Ms Lowe took a Batchelor of
Engineering and Science double
degree at the University of
Melbourne, followed by a postgrad
certificate in environmental
"That allowed me to do subjects
across a whole range of disciplines.
When I was working as an engineer
I started to realise that the issues I
was working on were so much
broader than the technical aspects, I
wanted to understand all the other
aspects as well," she says.The
University of Melbourne no longer
offers double degrees.
On top of this, Ms Lowe has done
a Batchelor of Environmental
Engineering and a PhD, and is now
a senior hydrologist with SKM
(Sinclair Knight Merz), as one of a
group doing water resource
modelling, and catchment hydrology.
"The group has a number of
people who are leaders in the field,"
Ms Lowe says, "I was really
fortunate to start there, it is more
than just applying known
techniques, more thinking about
problems, cutting-edge type stuff."
Water engineering is an evolving
field, Ms Lowe says.
"Now there is more emphasis on
environmental flows, looking at
rivers across Australia, working out
what water is needed to maintain a
healthy environment, and how we
change the way we allocate water
to make sure we are meeting both
the consumptive users needs, while
maintaining or improving
environmental health." Now on
maternity leave, and taking a break
from managing a team of fourteen,
Ms Lowe reflects on her choice of
"I really enjoy it, we have a lot of
graduates in our team, I really enjoy
working with them, helping them
develop their skills, and find their
niche, what it is that they enjoy.
"Working in the water industry is
particularly interesting, there are so
many aspects to it, not just the
technical component, but the
politics, and the community. I mix
with ecologists and economists, I like
that diversity, and the depth and of
the problems I deal with. I also like
numbers, I like getting numbers to
tell a story and understand what is
Happy with what she is doing, Ms
Lowe is not designing her own
future. "I've never been one for
plans. I have a good sense for what
I enjoy doing.
''I've been amazed throughout my
career at opportunities that I could
never have imagined. I keep an
open mind and pursue things that I
think I'll enjoy as they come up."
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