Solve complex environmental problems

11/05/2022 | 3 MINS

Environmental Engineering graduate Emily Denholm facilitates solutions for mine closure and rehabilitation. Emily shares her story with us in this Graduate Spotlight. 

UWA Graduate Emily Denholm

After my studies, I got a graduate engineer role with Lendlease Services (now Service Stream) in Kalgoorlie, working on road construction and maintenance projects. As part of this two-year grad program, I did one year in Kalgoorlie and one year in Perth. I also stayed on for another year as a site engineer.

It was a great opportunity to work on lots of different projects including various road renewal projects for Main Roads WA, the Northam Solar Farm, the Kalbarri Microgrid and the Graham Farmer Freeway tunnel operations and maintenance contract.

I then moved to Mine Earth (a specialist mine closure consultancy) as an environmental engineer. This job was actually suggested to me by my former Professor who I have stayed in touch with since uni!

I help design how land will be rehabilitated after mining is over, to ensure it will be safe, stable and non-polluting.

We must consider the rainfall the area is likely to receive (sometimes as far as 300 years in advance!), the material the landforms are built from and the vegetation native to the surrounding areas. I also develop detailed closure cost estimates to help mining companies understand and prepare for the full cost of closure.I really enjoyed Environmental Engineering at UWA as it brought together concepts from maths, physics, chemistry, biology and economics. I love being a part of the solution to complex problems that require a range of disciplines to solve.

I think the problems of the future - like resilient infrastructure, sustainable cities, affordable and clean energy and water - will require interdisciplinary teams to solve and Environmental Engineering is a great training ground if you are interested in working on these engaging and important issues.

Environmental Engineering is a really diverse field which is great – there are many options for work and demand is ever increasing. Whether you want to work in consulting, mining or energy, government or research – there is a spot for you!

Don't underestimate the value of networking – everyone in your degree could be your colleague at some stage. And stay in touch with Professors, they might help you find a job one day!

Find out more about how you can study environmental engineering by checking out our Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) , and the Master of Renewable and Future Energy - perfect for current undergraduates who want to challenge themselves and specialise in an area of engineering innovation that represents the future of the resources sector.

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