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Kate Watson

Engineering & science student, QUT

Kate Watson, QUT

Kate Watson is studying two degrees to build a career that will help combat climate change in Australia.

In Year 11, Kate Watson was studying the 2016 blackouts in South Australia – where almost the entire state lost power because the energy grid failed in a storm. Kate was already interested in STEM, but this made her narrow her focus – to power engineering.  

“I decided that the best way to feel like I was contributing to combating climate change was to pursue a career in the power sector so that I could directly contribute to finding solutions,” Kate says. 

Today, she’s studying for a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) (Honours) and a Bachelor of Science (Environmental) at QUT, which keeps things interesting. “I enjoy the variety each degree provides and relish the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in both degrees through electrical design and field work,” she says.

Kate’s average day at uni includes solving mathematical equations that describe complex electrical systems as well as studying the impact of human activity on native plants and wildlife. For one of the coolest environmental projects she’s worked on so far, she visited a field site in Goondiwindi for three days. Students collected data to see if ecoacoustics – sounds produced by the environment – could be used to work out the ecological condition of agricultural land. 

Passion pays off

After uni, Kate hopes to play a role in Australia’s transition to renewables and have a positive impact for future generations. She says studying has opened her eyes to a huge range of career possibilities that help the environment. 

“Through my degree, I’ve now seen how many jobs there are available for those with the right passion and dedication – in areas from conservation to soil science to forest management,” she says. 

“Any career connected to the environment and combating climate change will see huge growth over the next 50 years.” 

Kate’s STEM path

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) (Honours) / Bachelor of Science (Environmental), QUT
  • Vice President, Gender Equity in Engineering Makes Sense (GEMS) 
  • Intern, Aurecon, Energy Qld and PSC

This article was created in partnership with QUT and originally appears in the QUT STEM Guide 2022.

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