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School of Chemical Engineering
Engineering North Building
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005
AUSTRALIA
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Telephone: +61 8 8313 5446

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Past Graduates Profiles

Profiles of some of our recent Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Engineering graduates


Jessica Parletta

Why Pharmaceutical Engineering?

I have always been interested in the pharmaceutical industry and the different aspects of it, but I hadn't been sure which part of this field I wanted to be involved in. I heard about this course (Pharmaceutical Engineering) through a family friend, and as I enjoyed mathematics and chemistry in year 12, thought it was an excellent choice for me. Furthermore, after attending the information evening for the course my decision was made clear.

What have I learned?

As a part of first year, I learned the basic fundamentals of chemical engineering, including developing my problem solving skills, teamwork skills and a brief introduction of the chemistry side of our course was included. Throughout second and third year, there was a greater emphasis on learning about the medicinal side of the pharma industry, learning about how drugs interact with the body, as well as the engineering side of scale-up, process design and the overall manufacturing of a drug. My final year of study began with a more detailed insight into the strict laws and guidelines that I, as a Pharmaceutical Engineer, would have to adhere to when working in the Pharmaceutical Industry. During my final semester at university I was able to apply all of the information I had learnt during my four years of study, as well as the knowledge I had gained working in a Pharmaceutical Company, by working on the fourth year pharmaceutical plant design project.

What have I gained?

I completed a work experience placement, after completing my third year at university, at Mayne Pharma International (MPI) and continued working there throughout the university breaks during my final year.   During my time at MPI I developed a variety of skills as a result of being given the responsibility of managing several projects, including designing the upgrades to a water treatment plant, drafting work instructions and writing technical documents. Whilst working at the company throughout the year, I assisted with many projects that were under development, as well as constructing a manual relating to one of the key systems utilised by the company.   My twelve week placement helped me link the knowledge I had gained, through my studies, with the practical side of working in a pharmaceutical industry. After my work, placement I had a greater understanding of the variety of tasks I was able to do, from having a Pharmaceutical Engineering degree, reassuring my course decision.

Where am I now?

I was offered a contract position as Validation Engineer at Mayne Pharma International at the completion of my degree and commenced work there in late November.
My role as Validation Engineer requires me to provide sufficient documentation qualifying any procedure, process, equipment, system or material to demonstrate that any of the associated aspects will continuously lead to an expected result.

 Jessica Parletta

Academic Overview

  • BE (Pharm) 2007-2010

Employment

  • Mayne Pharma International

 


Charlene duToit

 Charlene duToit

Academic Overview

  • BE (Pharma) 2010

Employment

  • Mayne Pharma International

Why Pharmaceutical Engineering?

I decided on studying Pharmaceutical Engineering after hearing about this new degree starting in my first year. I choose this career path as it provides me with the opportunity to indirectly assist in maintaining the wellbeing and health of the public. I knew that being one of the first graduates would be a challenge but I was willing to give it a go.

What did I learn?

The first year was very similar to chemical engineering providing the foundations to support me throughout the next few years to follow with strong problem solving skills and knowledge about the pharmaceutical industry.  In the final year we learnt about the laws and guidelines that heavily regulate the industry to ensure the safety of the consumer.  We are given the opportunity to apply all the skills we have learnt throughout our degree by completing a plant design honours project.

What have I gained?

I completed two work experience placements during my second and third years at university.  The first was at at Mayne Pharma International (MPI), a traditional pharmaceutical manufacturer, and then BTG Australasia, a biopharmaceutical manufacturer. I completed a variety of tasks such as validating and installing equipment, performing numerous research tasks, partaking in process development and managing an individual project to gain a broad experience. The placements helped me apply the skills I learned at university to real-life situations as well as teach me industry skills that I could then relate to new things I learnt at university.
Doing work experience at different types of pharmaceutical manufacturers made me aware of the variety of work I can do which only assured me in my decision to become a Pharmaceutical Engineer.

Where am I now?

Upon completing my final semester, I was offered a contract position as a Validation Engineer at MPI. I quickly settled in at MPI after having worked with most of the people only a couple of years earlier.
The key role of a Validation Engineer is to provide sufficient evidence and documentation to prove that any procedure, process, equipment, material or system performs as specifies and leads to the expected result.

 


 

David To

 David To

Academic Overview

  • Diploma Licentiate in Music 2001
  • BE(Chem)(Hons) 2001-2004
  • Ph.D (Chemical Engineering) 2005-present

Employment

  • Santos

Why Chemical Engineering?

There are a couple of reasons why I chose to do Chemical Engineering. I didn't really know what I wanted to do after year 12 but I knew that I enjoyed Maths, Chemistry, and a challenge. The Chemical Engineering degree provides all that and also opens up a lot of careers paths including pharmaceutical, energy, mining, etc.

What did I learn?

In the first couple of years, I developed a good understanding of the fundamentals of Chemical Engineering. The final two years were more demanding and really improved my problem solving and team work skills. I am also in the process of completing my Ph.D which I did part-time for the last four years. This has been really challenging and rewarding. It has developed my ability to work independently and given me more confidence in my analytical and report writing skills.

 

Where am I now?

 

I am now working for Santos as an Oil Production Optimisation Engineer. This role builds on what I learnt in my Chemical Engineering degree, specifically process engineering, and it requires a lot of team work. I am mainly office based but visit the field on occasions which gives me practical experience. The graduate program at Santos allows me to rotate into different positions over the next 3 years to develop and understand various aspects of the company.

 


Ben Wilkinson

Why Chemical Engineering?

I was introduced to Chemical Engineering as a study choice during Year 11 Work Education.  I had a keen interest in the practical side of physics and chemistry and really enjoyed mathematics throughout high school, and knew that Chemical Engineering would provide a rewarding challenge at university.

What did I learn?

Analytical and problem solving skills were keenly developed throughout the course, as well as providing a broad knowledge of chemistry, physics, mathematics and computing.  In the latter years of the course, the focus narrowed in on the core process engineering areas, fluid mechanics, chemical processes as well as practical work and design projects.

University taught me a wide variety of skills, not just in the lecture theatres or laboratories.  Communication skills are vital for engineers, as well as team work and project management, and the Chemical Engineering course provided many interesting areas to develop these skills.

Industrial experience was also a focus of the coruse, with a minimum twelve weeks of work experience required.  It is common to gain those three months of experience at the end of third year, however as I was underaking a double degree, I was able to gain a total of nine months experience in the mining, water and energy industries.

Where am I now?

Having experienced a few different areas during my work expereince, I moved into the consulting industry, and am currently working at GPA Engineering in Adelaide as a Process Engineer.  My work for GPA Engineering allows me a broad range of areas to work in, with various clients in the Oil & Gas, Mining, Processing and Water Treatment industries, putting to use all of the skill I gained from study at Adelaide University.

 Ben Wilkinson

Academic Overview

  • BE (Chem) (Hons) 2002-2006
  • BMa Comp Sc (Applied Math) 2002-2006

Employment

  • GPA Engineering Pty Ltd


Simon Hanlin

 Simon Hanlin

Academic Overview

  • BE (Chem)/BSc 2000 - 2004

Employment

  • Mayne Pharma Pty Ltd

Why Chemical Engineering?

I attended a seminar in year 12 on Engineering as a career option and the Chemical Engineer who spoke sparked my curiosity.  I had wanted to study pharmacy, but having a strong background in maths and science I realised after the seminar I wanted a more hands on, processing career.

What did I find?

Throughout University I thought it was going to be hard to get a career in the Pharmaceutical industry, especially living in Adelaide.  Studying Chemical Engineering was not what I was expecting at first, but was both interesting and challenging, giving a strong foundation in problem solving and logical thinking.

Where am I now?

After applying to a two line advertisement in the paper I started work, much to my surprise, at Mayne Pharma as a Validation Engineer.  My role as a Validation Engineer has seen me learn about a wide range of process equipment, systems and materials. The key idea of a Validation Engineer is to provide a high level of documented evidence that equipment and services conform to a written standard.

In my role at Mayne Pharma I have been involved with validation of equipment ranging from bottling and packing lines and equipment, computer software and systems, purified water systems, air handling units, spray dryers and various other process equipment for manufacture of tablets, capsules, creams and liquid pharmaceuticals.

As I gain more experience in the validation side of Pharmaceutical Engineering I have taken on some smaller projects as a Project Engineer and now manage small projects as well as completing validation on larger projects.


Matthew Row

Why Chemical Engineering?

I had no idea what I wanted to do after I finished high school so I had a look through the SATAC guide and found the courses which had the highest TER for the previous year.  I was accepted into Mechatronic engineering but I then found that Chemical had a higher TER for that year so I swapped to it before the university year started.  Choosing a future career by this method turned out to be very fortunate as I quite enjoy my profession.

What did I learn?

The initial years of Chemical Engineering consisted primarily of foundation subjects for the rest of the degree.  The final years developed my management and team working skills while putting the knowledge I had learnt into real world situations.

The work placement component of the degree offered me a great opportunity to put the skills I had learnt to the test and further develop them into real world situtations.

Where am I now?

When I finished my degree I was not really sure what industry I wanted to go into.  So I decided to take on a consultant process engineering role at GPA Engineering.  This role enables me to work on various projects in industries such as oil and gas, minerals, water and manufacturing without being pigeon-holed into any one industry.  It also allows me to have both hands on, technical and project management experience.

 Matthew RowMatthew Row

Academic Overview

  • BE (Chem) (Hons) 2002-2005

Employment

  • GPA Engineering Pty Ltd


Anne Willanski

Anne Willanski

 

Academic Overview

  • BE Chem (Hons) and BSc 1998 - 2002

Employment

  • WorleyParsons Resources & Energy Adelaide

 

 

 

 

Why Chemical Engineering?

In high school I enjoyed chemistry and maths, so when it came to choosing a university course, chemical engineering stood out as fitting my interests. A family friend who worked at Adelaide Brighton Cement arranged for me to tour the plant and meet a chemical engineer. After this visit I was hooked on engineering.  I chose a double degree combined with science, majoring in chemistry, to keep up the practical side of science.

What did I learn?

The engineering course gave me a good background in mass and energy balances, working with materials in different states (solid, liquid, gas) and working on batch and continuous processes.

Adding to the first principles I learned in university the wide variety of career opportunities offered to chemical engineers means I learned the specifics of the industry on the job. The main skill I learned through university is how to approach problems and break them down to manageable sections.

Where am I now?

I have been with WorleyParsons since graduation.  WorleyParsons is a leading provider of professional services to the energy, resource and complex process industries around the world and I have experienced a variety of projects and roles, both office and site based.

Through my site work I have enjoyed visiting and living in remote areas of South Australia such as Roxby Downs and Beverley where I have developed friendships, interests and expertise. It is special to see an outback sunset and meet the shy creatures of this amazing land just outside your front door.

Thanks to the magic of today's communication, my office based work means that I have been involved in design and investigation for mining projects, both here in South Australia and in other countries around the world. Each project is different, complex and interesting. It is very satisfying to be involved in solving problems and bringing a project to a conclusion.

I enjoy the variety of working in consulting and through these experiences and the support of the WorleyParsons graduate program I gained Chartered Professional Engineer status (CPEng ).


James Coffey

Why Chemical Engineering?

When I left school I applied for a range of courses and finally accepted a place in Oenology (wine-making) at The University of Adelaide. On the back of good results in first year, I was offered a scholarship for lateral year entry into Engineering. I chose Chemical Engineering because it would be advantageous if I ever returned to working in the wine-making industry.

What did I learn?

The course at the University of Adelaide was in the early stages of diversifying from Process Engineering into Environmental and Biochemical Engineering. I understand that today the choices are even greater. At the time I found the course to be quite demanding, but I appreciate that so much more now. What I really enjoy is the opportunities that an internationally recognised degree can offer.

Where am I now?

I now work in London, for a company called Dalkia Utilities Services. My role as Area Engineer for the South East UK and Northern Ireland means I am responsible for Engineering Support to existing and new business in the area. My work involves a wide range of functions from small energy management initiatives to major plant construction projects up to £16m. The roots of my project management competency were founded in Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, although little can prepare you for the first time you need to sign an order for a £600k piece of equipment!

James Coffey

Academic Overview

  • BE (Chem) 1995 - 2000

Employment

  • Dalkia Utilities Services (London)