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Our Alumni at work

By Patrick Nelson

Shilpa Bitla and daughter Harini at India’s iconic Taj Mahal Shilpa Bitla and daughter Harini at India’s iconic Taj Mahal

Shilpa Bitla came to Australia from south central India with a young family and a determination to pursue her education. It is now four years on and Shilpa has graduated with a Master of Electronic Engineering from Charles Darwin University and works in Darwin with an international engineering consultancy.

What sparked your interest in engineering?
My father is a mechanical engineer in India and since my childhood he helped me understand science and engineering basics through day-to-day examples. Consequently, I have developed an interest in engineering, which continues as I learn more about the discipline.

What brought you to Australia and what was your first impression on arrival?
I am interested in higher education and I have friends in Australia. The many very friendly people and the cool dry season are two things that have impressed me.

How did you balance family, work, study and a second language?
It was a challenging experience. I should thank my husband, Srinivas, and daughter Harini for their priceless support during my Masters at CDU.

Describe a typical day as an electrical engineer
My work normally includes designing electrical systems, and site inspections as required by the project. Each morning I create a plan that includes tasks and time allocation, which I use as a checklist for the day. I work in a team who are friendly and supportive.

Can you tell a little about a project that you’re working on?
I am working on a project that includes designing a three incomer automatic transfer switch. This equipment is used to provide a backup power supply to an estimated power load. The challenging part is to determine its functionalities to match client expectations.

What surprises you most about working as an engineer?
Every project is unique and every project’s outcome is unique … and that’s engineering.

What do you find most challenging about your profession?
I found that the co-ordination between different engineering disciplines is most challenging about my profession.

What interests you apart from your work?
I love playing with my daughter. I like to watch movies along with my family.

What is the best advice you have received and who offered it?
Never lose confidence – Srinivas Bitla

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by women who achieve their goals in work and life. I have learned a lot from experience, and that also inspires me.

What’s next for Shilpa Bitla?
Developing my skills in electrical engineering. Helping my daughter in her studies and sports.