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

Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Jacob Brown

 
Jacob Brown

Chemical Engineering

Graduate Engineer, Alcoa

For the brave and determined, a Chemical Engineering degree from UWA will give you the training you need to seize some amazing opportunities in the sciences. I graduated from UWA in 2013 and since then have been learning faster than ever as a Graduate Chemical Engineer at Alcoa's Kwinana Refinery.

I truly enjoy working at the refinery and every day is a new and exciting challenge. You never know exactly what will come up next and, whilst you can rarely plan one day to the next, you can be assured that you'll never be bored. Troubleshooting an operating site is nothing like the steady-state operation used in design cases and you could spend a lifetime studying the various knock-on effects that any change in the refinery causes on itself.

UWA provided me with the fundamentals I needed to understand all the tools in the chemical engineer's toolkit. Whilst detailed calculations are not usually required, a healthy understanding of heat transfer, fluid mechanics  and solubility curves are essential to comprehending the process I work in. You need to make decisions every day with hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of impact on the bottom line. In addition, you need to make hard decisions about which work you do and which you cut from the list to achieve the best outcome. I am immensely satisfied with my choice of career and if you're committed to the hard yards required to achieve a position with a company that will throw some decent technical challenges at you, then I'm sure you'll find it thrilling.

Also, as enjoyable as my time at Alcoa has been, I am now leaving the company to pursue a PhD in catalyst studies at the University of Cambridge in the UK. It will be very different to the plant I know and love but I'm just embarking on the next phase of my chemical engineering journey. The opportunities after UWA are diverse and there are many experiences available if you are determined to grasp them!