PhD student Lily is an acoustician.
But what is that exactly? She studies the acoustics of concert halls, and she has done it in virtually all of the major concert halls in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House, Perth Concert Hall, Hamer Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, and QPAC in Queensland.
“We use a loud speaker and we emit an impulse, and then we measure that response somewhere else in the concert hall. From this we create a whole lot of parameters to identify whether that concert hall is going to be really good or really bad.
Traditionally this process has been used to design the space for the audience, but Lily’s research is looking at how those measurements can be done on stage to design the orchestra shell for the musicians.
“Not that many people would go down this path after doing civil engineering, but when you study Engineering, it’s pretty easy to branch out into a whole range of different things.”
At school, Lily was good at maths and science, but she didn’t know what to do with her skills. She chose engineering at UTAS because she didn’t have to choose a specialisation right away. She went on to focus on civil engineering, completing an Honours year and now a PhD.
It was in her Honours year that Lily uncovered this interesting field of study. She did a project in concert hall acoustics and she was hooked.
In undergraduate engineering we have civil, electrical and mechanical. I didn’t know what I wanted to choose, but at UTAS you study all three areas for 18 months and then you choose your specialisation. It’s one of the reasons that I chose UTAS.
“I find now that I actually use all three. Acoustics is normally considered mechanical, I use a lot of civil in the design of buildings, and we use a lot of electrical in our measurements. I got a really good background in all three, and use that knowledge all the time.”
The practical nature of the UTAS Engineering degree and strong links with industry also help students to uncover the right path for their future career. Within the degree students are able to complete 12 weeks of industry placement.
It couldn’t be any more practical – you are actually physically in industry. We also do lots of practical laboratories and field trips. Then for the Honours project, most have an industry link or real world link, so you have to go out into the field to do that project. It’s easy to experience what you might be doing after you graduate.
When Lily graduated she had an offer from a civil engineering firm, but decided to begin a PhD. She is now receiving offers from acoustic firms to become an acoustic consultant, but is seriously considering continuing her research through post-doctoral study.
“The lecturers at UTAS do some really amazing research – there is some really inspirational work going on.”
You can do so many different things. You have so many job options. You come out with a career path, but it’s also really easy to recreate your career later.
“I’d like to travel more with my work. With this degree, you really can go anywhere.
“I would recommend anyone that has an interest in maths or science, anything with a bit of a real world application, to consider engineering. I have never regretted it.
It’s one of those great careers where you will always be able to find a job and hopefully one that you will really enjoy.
Where could an engineering degree at UTAS take you?
Explore the options in a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours.