Reframing engineering in society with Kelsie Clarke
About Kelsie Clarke
Kelsie graduated from The University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering
She has worked with rural communities in Cambodia, helped Habitat for Humanity with sanitation programs in Vietnam, worked with indigenous communities for childcare capital works in Sydney and provided stormwater design in Toronto, Newcastle.
She is involved in the Women in Engineering Program with the University of Western Australia and recently participated in Homeward Bound Projects in Antarctica.
Kelsie is currently working for Woodside Energy as a System Engineer at the Karratha Gas Plant where she is managing change, risk assessment and process safety for the site.
@10.44: Kelsie became an engineer, even though she didn’t know what it was initially
“I didn’t really know what engineering was though, I didn’t have any engineers in my family”
“my experience growing up was I didn’t know what engineering was”
@12.20: Just completed a leadership program that involved sailing around Antarctica, specifically for STEM fields.
“the growth that I experienced over the three weeks in Antarctica was just incredible”
Hot Topic discussion
@17.14: Kelsie wanted to talk about reframing engineering for social purposes.
“at the heart of engineering we exist to better the lives of people, but that often is diluted in what we do.”
@18.32: Dom read this report and a stand out for him was “engineering doesn’t equal maths, engineering equals problem solving.”
Kelsie believes the societal shift about engineers has occurred over the last 10 or so years. But if you look back 100 years ago at the engineers, it was an exciting time and they were celebrated.
“these people were pioneering methods of building and other things and they were celebrated within the community.”
Kelsie theorises that the shift came after WW2, “we became a lot more focused on the process and numbers and not so much on the outcomes and the possibilities of engineering”
The way Kelsie wants to change society’s perception of society
“…why aren’t they thinking of it in terms of ‘I can save lives with this, I can better society, I can make a good contribution to the world’.”
Kelsie suggests a solution should be to ensure engineers connect back to the original why of engineers.
“I think we can be more effective as a profession if we do connect to that purpose, that end goal, the people that we’re serving”
And part of that is connecting to yourself.
“When I was in Antarctica on Homeward Bound, something that we learned about leadership was you can’t lead others until you lead yourself, and you know yourself.”
Dom says: “It’s those truly amazing projects that sort of inspire the next generation of engineers that are coming through as well.”
During this podcast, you will also reflect on:
What it is like working with Engineers Without Borders
@31.18: The future
“I think in the future, engineers will need to play a critical role in designing for the unknown or for adaptive situations. And I think understanding that end user, understanding the purpose will be critical in, in doing that.”
Kelsie talks about engineering and provides advice
“engineering is a way that you can change the lives of people and really make a positive difference to the world”
An engineering item for discussion… Kelsie struggled to identify a single item. “So much of it is cool”. When in Europe, she realised that every bridge was designed slightly differently. “I think that’s something in engineering that impresses me, with the same mass, the same calculations and everything, you can design so many different things”
An engineer to admire…Emily Warren Reobling was such an incredible and inspiring person. Her husband was a civil engineer who built the Brooklyn Bridge, and when he became very ill so stepped up and ran the project in his stead.
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