Mechatronic Engineers develop new solutions using the hybrid disciplines of mechanical and electronic engineering, and computer technology. Mechatronic Engineers work at the cutting edge of technology and aim to improve products through optimising features and adding new functionality.
In the Black Panther movie, T’Challa may get to play with all the cool weapons and gadgets, and wear that impressive nanotechnology suit, but it’s his sister Shuri – the one who designs and builds all those impressive gadgets that protect her brother and country – that inspires Maria Vargas Duque.
Shuri’s ethos of ‘just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved’, and being the brainpower behind the technology that takes existing materials and turns them into something more exciting and powerful, is something that Maria has envisaged herself doing in her future career, as a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) student at Queensland University of Technology.
“I am constantly looking at ways to improve, automate or build solutions using my current knowledge. As a mechatronics engineer in the making, using the latest technology to find solutions for real-world problems is exciting.”
Maria wasn’t aware of the array of opportunities in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry until she discovered the National Naval Shipbuilding Scholarship Pilot Program, which supports students in their third and fourth-year engineering studies to achieve their academic goals, with a strong focus on disciplines which are in demand across Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.
The need for mechatronics engineers in the Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry is rapidly increasing and engineers can work on a wide variety of applications, from autonomous systems, robotics, electrical componentry, satellite communications, mechanical propulsion systems and hydraulic systems.
After researching the industry, Maria saw that the experience gained on the naval shipbuilding programs would be second to none. After applying and being one of only 35 students accepted into the inaugural scholarship program, she felt honoured to play a part in a nationwide endeavour.
“The opportunity of gaining work experience in the shipbuilding enterprise – which is such a massive endeavour that means so much for the whole of Australia – is a once in lifetime opportunity. Its a unique experience that I wouldn’t get anywhere else.”
The scholarship provides a unique opportunity for engineering students to get real life experience through industry work placements and Maria is looking forward to furthering her skills and working on some rewarding projects.
“Very few people in the world are privileged enough to be able to be so excited by their work. I’m not sure of exactly what I will be working on for my internship at this stage, but I know that whatever project I end up working on will be so interesting and impressive.”
The long-term career stability, contribution to Australia’s sovereign capability and opportunities for continuous improvement also ticked the career boxes.
“When we live on a continent that is purely surrounded by water, protecting the maritime borders is of utmost importance. One of the things I really like about the Naval Shipbuilding Plan is the future focus of the plan. It doesn’t stop at building the ships but outlines the long-term sustainment and upgrades of the vessels. Another aspect is the support for continuous learning and building skills of the professionals they work with.
“It’s about building an advanced manufacturing, high technology sector, that looks to the future and will provide sustainable solutions to our naval capability for generations to come.”
Applications for the 2021 National Naval Shipbuilding Pipeline Scholarship Pilot are now open for second-year students via the QUT website and RMIT website.