Casey keen to renew Japanese connection

New Colombo Plan scholarship recipient Casey Macfarlane
New Colombo Plan scholarship recipient Casey Macfarlane

After studying Japanese in high school and completing a student exchange to Tokyo, Casey Macfarlane’s connection with Japan is about to enter an exciting new phase.

From Ormiston on Brisbane’s bayside, Casey is doing a double degree in Environmental Engineering and Business Management at Griffith University and will soon return to Japan as a recipient of a 2016 New Colombo Plan scholarship.

Casey is heading to Hiroshima University under the Commonwealth Government program that allows Australian undergraduates to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in participating Indo-Pacific locations.

Casey is one of six Griffith students in the 2016 New Colombo cohort and she can’t wait to get back to a nation for which she has developed a strong affinity and affection.

“I chose Japan as my preferred destination because my previous experience there gave me such a great insight into the country and its people,”” she says.

This time Casey hopes to learn more about Japan’s world-leading processes and protocols in waste management and recycling, then bring that knowledge back to Australia.

“Up to Year 12 I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career, although I’d always been interested in the environment,” says Casey.

“I grew up at Greenbank and from early on was involved with water activities, bushwalking and recycling.

“Then I attended a TSXPO event in Brisbane and a Griffith University professor was speaking about the various forms of engineering taught at Griffith. Environmental engineering appealed to me immediately.”

While adding a business component to her study load may seem demanding, Casey says it has helped her to better appreciate the connection between industry, economics and the environment.

As my interest has expanded into areas such as biotechnology, waste management and the rehabilitation of mining sites, the business marketing and management sides of my studies have further broadened my perspective,” she says.

“The New Colombo Plan is an amazing opportunity and I’m sure it will mean a lot for my personal and professional development, and for my global understanding.”

Even so, Casey is seeking success for more than just herself.

As president of the Environmental Engineers Society at Griffith and a member of LITES (Ladies in Technology, Engineering and Science), she wants to show other young women that they should not be deterred from studying in male-dominated areas such as engineering, or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects generally.

“Engineering has always been male-dominated, but it is slowly changing and I’d like to be one of those women helping to lead that change,” says Casey.