We mostly think of engineers in relation to infrastructure – buildings, roads, connectivity – but for Wesley Moss, engineering has given him the chance to have a different kind of positive impact on the world.
A self-confessed city boy, Wesley is doing a PhD in Agricultural Engineering despite not having an agricultural background at all. After graduating from UWA and working as an engineer over east for a couple of years, he found he was becoming increasingly interested in the challenges facing global agriculture – notably, food security and climate change.
Wesley wants to discover how we can feed a growing population, while reducing land use and greenhouse gas emissions. “Technology will play a key role in meeting these challenges and I hope to be able to apply that as part of my future career.”
The connections Wesley made with UWA staff during his first degree helped cement the change in his path; when he reached out to talk with them about completing a PhD, they were all extremely encouraging and supportive.
Now Wesley is doing work that he’s passionate about. He has the flexibility he needs to focus on what he’s interested in, and can shape his research as he sees fit – “thanks to great supervisors!”
Wesley, like many other researchers, was able to secure a scholarship to support him through his studies and supplement his income from teaching at UWA.
“I think the most important attribute for being successful in a PhD is being self-motivated,” Wesley advises.
“You are driving your research and are ultimately responsible for the outcome. You will, of course, have support and guidance from your supervisors and other researchers, but you need to have the motivation to set your own goals and achieve them.
“This isn’t too hard if you’re working in an area you’re passionate about, but it definitely requires discipline and organisation.”
If you’re thinking about taking up a PhD but aren’t sure of what’s involved, Wesley says all you have to do is speak to people who are already doing one – “Most people are happy to share their experiences and this can be a great way of working out what you want to do.”