WEIPA’S Montanna Homosi is on her way to building a dream career in engineering and wants to see other women follow her passion for the field.
The QUT student said she followed her interests in her choice of university study.
“I don’t really categorise things as a male job or a female job – I just do what I like,” she said.
“I’ve always liked math and science since I was young, and I like getting the right answer: with maths and science you’re either right or wrong. It’s very logical.
“My dad has been encouraging. He works in the mines as a diesel fitter, and when I told him engineering was something I wanted to do, he said it was good for Indigenous women to go into those fields so we could bring a new perspective.
“I noticed when I moved from Weipa that having grown up in a different environment has helped me see things differently.”
Fellow Indigenous student Kiah Faiva is in her second year of civil engineering at QUT and said she was enjoying her studies and was already working with AECOM during university breaks.
“I’ve already had the opportunity to get a job in the engineering industry through Career Trackers, and it’s really helpful with uni because we work on real examples: it’s fun and challenging,” she said.
Kiah is a Kalkadoon woman who grew up on Gubbi Gubbi country, while first-year student Montanna is a Ankamuthi and Bulgoone Wara woman from FNQ. Montanna said she had built good networks at QUT.
“It’s been really good connecting with other women in engineering as we have a ‘we’re in this together mindset’ – it’s challenging sometimes walking into a room seeing 50 guys and maybe four or five girls,” she said.
She said she appreciated the support of the Oodgeroo Unit (the QUT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support centre), which helped her to face the changes in her life when she started university.
“I went from Weipa, where there’s only a bakery and a Woollies and no stop lights, to here, where there’s four lanes in the road,” she said.
“It was very nerve wracking going from the small town to the big city.”
The Executive Dean of Engineering, Professor Ana Deletic, said QUT was working hard to create a pipeline for more women and students from diverse backgrounds to become engineers.
“Engineering companies want teams of both men and women, from diverse backgrounds, so that they are developing products and solutions that serve everyone in their community,” she said.
Professor Deletic said Indigenous Australian engineers’ knowledge of Country provided an advantage as the world looked for more sustainable solutions.
“That connection to Country is unique and makes a huge difference in some engineering disciplines,” she said.
“As the world adapts to the threat of climate change, we are searching for ways to connect better with nature so we can build functional, sustainable cities, and understanding Country can help with this.”
QUT offers a Women in Engineering scholarship, as well as a range of scholarships for Indigenous Australian students, including the CS Energy Scholarship, the Arcadia Landscape Architecture Indigenous Scholarship, the Go Further Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship and the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Undergraduate Scholarship.