An obsession with Lego led to a love of engineering

Student in the Spotlight for International Women’s Day: Susie Greco

Susie studies Civil Engineering. She says a childhood Lego obsession combined with a drive to help others were the two main reasons that led her there.

Susie

She loves that engineering is about applying science and maths to analyse complex problems and systematically reach logical and useful solutions. While she originally thought that civil engineering would satisfy her love of Lego, she has come to appreciate the breadth of what civil engineers do - working with water, soils, and structures to provide infrastructure for the benefit of the community.

She also fell in love with geography at school and knew that she wasn’t ready to let it go just yet. This is how she ended up adding an extra year to her degree and studying a geography, environment, and population diploma of arts as well.

What does she love about STEM?

One of the best things about studying STEM is that is encourages you to be both logical and creative. With issues like climate change, population growth, and diminishing resources becoming increasingly prominent, it’s clear that today’s problems are nowhere near simple. I love that STEM provides techniques to find innovative solutions to help combat these.

While civil engineering might not be the flashiest of the STEM careers, I’ve come to admire its necessity in supporting population growth, and its applications and growing focus on supporting natural environments too. Civil engineering is like the unsung hero - few will notice when it goes well, but many will complain when it doesn’t!

What advice would she give her younger self about how to approach study?

When it came to deciding in year 12 what I wanted to study, I remember worrying whether I had made the right decision. Looking back, I realise that it’s ok if you don’t get it right the first time. Just because you decide to follow a degree at university doesn’t mean you’re stuck in it forever. If you’re not happy, it’s easy to change degrees and there’s no shame in that. Given that you’ll be working most of your life, it’s important to find a career that makes you happy and gives you purpose.

What personal or professional training opportunity would she like to attend?

I would love the opportunity to learn more about how to support and grow volunteering groups. During my time at University, I have been involved in both the Women in STEM Society and Robogals committees, undertaking roles which have involved managing and supporting University student volunteers. Learning more about how to attract, maintain, and train the volunteers would allow me to support both societies better.

What is an achievement she is proud of?

Volunteering through the Women in STEM Society for the inaugural Inspiring Women program was a highlight of last year. The program, run in collaboration with the ECMS Faculty, involved promoting STEM to 60 primary and high school students through four STEM-themed workshops and a graduation ceremony. Having the opportunity to co-run the engineering workshop was such a blast.

I loved being able to interact with the primary school students to show them that civil engineering is cool and to encourage them to be creative and environmentally friendly when designing their own prosthetic legs.

I absolutely can’t wait to see what the Inspiring Women program will turn out to be this year and look forward to inspiring another generation of STEM pioneers!

How does she choose to spend her spare time and find ways to unwind?

In my free time, you can often find me with my nose in a good fiction novel, cooking with family or playing piano - obviously not all at the same time!

I am currently working towards completing my Associate Degree on piano. I head carefully to the piano to avoid tripping over the countless books scattered about the house because I’ve run out of space on the shelves. No matter how much time I spend reading, my to-read list continues to grow.

I also love cooking and eating. Coming from an Italian background it’s a big part of my life! I love helping Mum or Nonna cook up a storm and sometimes simply watching the masters at work.

Listening, playing, and dancing to music are all ways that I unwind.

Tagged in Women in STEM, Civil and Mechanical Engineering