Name: Benjamin Bartlett
School: Maitland Grossmann High School
University: University of Newcastle
F1 in Schools, UOW Engineering Competitions
Extension 1 Mathematics, Advanced Mathematics, Engineering Studies, Physics, Chemistry, Standard English
To create sustainable social impact by applying engineering knowledge and understanding and by means of infrastructure and management.
Travelling, exploring new places, problem solving, soccer, socialising
I enrolled in Engineering Studies at school in Year 9, not too sure what the subject involved but I had a general interest in structures and how things worked. I quickly took a liking to the subject, especially with all the interesting things it involved, such as designing and building miniature bridges out of balsa and testing them to destruction, this led me to continue studying Engineering for the HSC.
Out of High School I was accepted into a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Newcastle University, undertaking my studies in 2013. I was also successful in achieving an Industry Scholarship with the Roads & Martime Services (RMS) that would span the duration of my studies. The Scholarship required me to undertake regular work placements over summer breaks from Uni, and also a fulltime year between my 3rd and 4th years of study. This has been a great experience for me, each placement I would work in a different section to maximise my industry understanding.
Over the Uni break in July 2015 I travelled over to India with an organisation called 40K Globe for a Global Internship where I worked as part of a team with 8 fellow Australian students on a water project which aimed to find a sustainable solution to clean drinking water. This involved living in the rural Indian village of Ankanahalli, and yes this meant living the local way – squat toilets, bucket showers, and endless curries, you name it! Whilst over there we conducted large amounts of community surveys, did frequent water testing from multiple sources and widespread research to the issues surrounding the quality of drinking water in these villages. Our conclusion at the end of the month was no surprise, the drinking water was far from safe. Samples recorded extreme amounts of bacteria, fluoride, and potassium which were likely the cause of multiple health issues to villagers. I found the 40K Globe program to be incredibly beneficial to my professional career, being able to use engineering knowledge and understanding to tackle a serious social issue was extremely rewarding, it opened up a whole world of possibilities that a career in engineering can take you.
In December 2015 I was asked to return to India to lead a team of my own to complete the next phase of the water project. I had received extensive training in project management, conflict resolution, problem solving, organisation, emergency procedures and team mentorship prior to my departure. I was responsible for the wellbeing of 6 young Aussie’s in less than adequate conditions, whilst also being responsible for the success of the project; this was something I needed to be well prepared for. At this stage of the project we were much more focussed on defining a sustainable solution set now that the problem we faced was well defined by the team on the ground before us. Through large amounts of research, problem solving and meetings with local academics and authorities we were able to design a system that would deliver clean drinking water to villagers on a regular basis. We also began working on education tools that would enable locals to understand the health risks associated with poor water quality and hygiene. The system was implemented successfully by the continuing team in January, they also trialled education tools for the local children, this would be continued as part of the ongoing water project. I learnt a great deal over the month as Team Leader, employing skills I will retain with me throughout both my personal and professional life.
As part of my scholarship at the RMS, I am currently working as an undergraduate engineer for the duration of 2016. As part of the Project Delivery team in Newcastle I am working on the Duplication of Tourle Street – Kooragang. The project aims to improve traffic flow by upgrading the existing road corridor to four continuous travel lanes between Industrial Drive and Fern Bay, this involves construction of a new two lane bridge on the western side of the existing bridge. Construction is due to commence in April 2016 where I will work as part of the site team, gaining involvement in Project Management duties.
Yes, as I undertook Engineering Studies in Years 9 and 10 I had already experienced the benefits of the ME Program, such as the F1 in Schools program which involved teams of students designing a model F1 car using CAD software, which would be presented and raced at regional competitions.
Yes, the ME Program provided engagement into what a career in engineering can involve and allowed students to think innovatively whilst at school. I was encouraged to think on a more global level with the program enabling me to explore the broader avenues of my career.