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Engineer Shehani is empowering women in STEM

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Engineering, Studying in Australia

From a young age, Shehani loved all things machines, systems and aircrafts. This passion would see her enter a traditionally male-dominated industry and bring her to Australia to study a Master of Engineering (Mechanical) at CDU. 

Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Shehani completed her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Kotelawala Defence University and worked as a Graduate Engineer at Sri Lankan Airlines.

Being a professional female engineer is all what I wanted to be. I have always believed in following my passion and to thrive in challenging environments has always been my biggest strength.

Determined to follow her dream career, she enrolled in a Master of Engineering (Mechanical) at CDU and moved to Darwin.

The journey


Her academic accomplishments and drive to succeed have helped make her dreams a reality.

Shehnai’s goal of studying a Master’s in Engineering edged closer when see received the CDU Global Excellence Award Scholarship.

I’m grateful to CDU for recognising my academic achievements and presenting me with an opportunity to pursue my studies in a world class program.

"Receiving this scholarship has enhanced my self-confidence and helped me to achieve my academic and career goals," she adds.

Overcoming obstacles


Having never lived away from her family, Shehani knew she would find it hard to be apart from her loved ones.

Work-life balance was another challenge she had to face throughout her studies.

“Proper planning, positivity, focus and surrounding yourself with influential, supportive people definitely will help you to overcome these obstacles,” she says.

Being female in a male-dominated workforce is a strong driving force in Shehani’s professional development. She wants to help young women thrive in the engineering sector.

"I believe women's empowerment can support professional development and gaining engineering leadership roles," she says. 

I always encourage the young generation towards STEM fields, especially females. The other good thing about engineering or other STEM fields is that they are interconnected, meaning there are multiple career opportunities.

Studying at CDU


Shehani has embraced the practical nature of her Master’s Degree in Engineering.

She feels the course structure has opened doors to different areas of interest, including her current role as a Mechanical Services Engineer Intern at a leading engineering consulting firm in Australia.

Networking and volunteering are the most important practices if you are seeking for professional or skill development. There are heaps of networking and volunteering opportunities here in Darwin.

“Lecturers and the tutors along with course structure have been the best things for me studying at CDU," she says.

"They have been immensely helpful and flexible whilst helping me to achieve my academic goals."

Explore Engineering degrees at CDU, and learn more about Advancing Women In STEM Courses.

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