Digging test pits, drilling boreholes and mapping rock slopes to collect information about what is in the ground may sound like hard work, but for 23 year-old geotechnical engineer Sarah Marsanich, it’s just another awesome day on the job.
Sarah graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) in 2010, earning a University medal in the process, before taking up a graduate position with AECOM. This global company provides professional, technical and management support services in areas including transport, the environment, energy, water and government.
Through her job with AECOM, Sarah is currently working with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) as part of a team rebuilding roads in South East Queensland following the devastating 2010/2011 floods.
“The floods brought terrible heartbreak to the region, and it also caused extensive damage to our road networks,” Sarah said.
“Not only are we repairing the road network, but we are also learning a lot about the impact of heavy rainfall in certain geological settings so we can build safer and more enduring infrastructure for the future.”
Sarah started her tertiary studies in Sydney but later moved to the Gold Coast, where she found a world of difference at Griffith University.
“The lecturers and support staff genuinely care about your success,” Sarah said.
“The community at Griffith made for a productive study environment and the connections I made are really helping me in my position today,” she said.
Under AECOM’s graduate program, Sarah is further developing her technical engineering skills and building on a range of other professional attributes, including leadership and communication skills.
Clearly it’s paying off, as Sarah is preparing to make a presentation at the 34th International Geological Congress being held in Brisbane next month. She will focus on the relationship between heavy rain and geology when it comes to road network performance.
Now at the start of what promises to be a long and successful career in engineering, Sarah already has sound advice for others wanting to pursue a similar career path.
“I would urge students, especially young women, to continue their science studies into years 11 and 12,” Sarah said.
“To participate in today’s society you need a level of understanding about the world that you can only get through knowledge of science.
“As a bonus, science allows for limitless career opportunities, such as in the field of engineering where you get to do challenging, rewarding and awesome work that can really influence the future of the world we live in.”
Griffith University will be holding an Open Day at all five campuses on August 12 where you can find out everything you wanted to know about engineering or 300 other courses at Griffith.