A century of achievement 1913 - 2013
Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Emily Denholm


MPE Environmental

For high school students that have a passion for problem solving but are not sure what engineering discipline might be for them – I strongly recommend giving environmental engineering a go! 

What I love most about environmental engineering is its interdisciplinary nature. We utilise concepts from the fields of maths, physics, chemistry, biology and economics (to name just a few) to solve real-world problems. I am constantly looking to learn from best practice in other fields and apply them to my own.

The breadth of environmental engineering is an aspect I particularly enjoy, and gets me excited about the diversity of job options. Graduates can work within fields such as land and water management, climate change impact assessments, mining and resources, sustainable buildings, natural disaster prediction and mitigation, conservation and hydrology, infrastructure services, waste management and renewable energy.

The environmental engineering community is tight-knit, welcoming and helpful. I always look forward to my classes knowing I’ll be working alongside friends who share similar interests but have different opinions and worldviews that challenge my way of thinking. At the same time, there is a good mix of international and domestic students that has enabled me to familiarise myself with working with others of different cultural backgrounds, an important skill for the workplace.

I recommend getting to know as many fellow students as possible; they could be a future work colleague later down the track. At university, it is also important to get involved with clubs of interest, to get hands on experience working in teams, managing projects and working on leadership skills.

I was fortunate enough to have a number of volunteering opportunities through St George’s College, Teach Learn Grow and the Student Environmental Engineers Club during my time at university, and I’m sure they will be some of my fondest memories! Additionally, these extra-curricular activities have really enhanced my vacation work and graduate job applications and have given me some great examples to draw upon in interviews.

As part of the MPE course, I completed a work placement through BHP Billiton Iron Ore's 12 week vacation program over summer. It was a fantastic opportunity to get a taste of the FIFO life and work in the Pilbara, as well as gain an understanding of the kind of work the environment team is responsible for on a mine site. A number of my environmental engineering friends also completed vacation work in consulting, mining or oil and gas companies, government departments and research institutions around Australia.