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Western Australian dam shot from aerial camera

Protecting WA dams using flood hydrology

19/05/2022 | 2 MINS

Pandora Sullivan stands in empty dam in Wester Australia

Meet environmental engineer Pandora and hear about the ways she used what she learned in her engineering degree to cultivate a niche specialisation and increase her employability since graduating from UWA.

"Since UWA, my career has been varied, but that’s the nature of environmental engineering as it allows you to branch out into different areas. After graduating, I started out working as an environmental engineer for various consultancies.

I currently work for the Water Corporation in their Dams and Dam Safety team, helping to manage a profile of 100 Dams in WA. Using dambreak modelling I study the potential downstream impacts if a dam were to break. It’s a very topical area to work in due to the extreme flooding and heavy rainfall we’re experiencing in Australia.

In a way, I do more of a civil engineering role, but I was able to cultivate a niche with the flood hydrology skills learnt during my environmental engineering degree.

I really enjoy that my current role allows me the opportunity to get out of the office and travel through WA to different dam sites.

At UWA I had so many great opportunities to immerse myself in campus life. During my degree I completed three different types of vacation work and made invaluable connections. I’m still regularly in touch with my environmental engineering cohort and teachers and I’m now a member of UWA’s Environmental Engineering Industry Advisory Panel."

My advice to prospective students is to broaden your idea of what Environmental Engineering is. You might end up working in dams, marine modelling, mining or something more hydrology based – it really is an adaptable discipline.

If you aren't sure if a career in engineering is right for you, then we absolutely recommend checking out our course information pages, watch the incredible videos with our expert academics doing cutting edge projects for global changemakers and then get in touch with our student advisers to chat to them about what is on offer in Engineering at UWA.

The UWA School of Engineering offers course structures that provide a solid foundation in the principles of all the major specialisations while you begin your chosen specialisation, so if you decide to change your mind, you can do so without losing all of your completed unit credits.

Trust us, with all of the diverse and exciting ways you can use your degree, you might just discover that engineering was the perfect career for you all along.

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