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Sustainability, socialising and studying abroad: Shannon’s story

This article appears in: Engineering, High school to uni, Learning abroad
Engineering surveying Indonesia 1800X800 Shannon Kieran

As an NT local, Shannon always had her sights set on CDU for when she finished Year 12. She’s now in her fourth year of studying a Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Engineering (Civil & structural) at the Casuarina campus in Darwin.

Shannon will be graduating with great memories from her time at uni: she’s travelled to Indonesia on a humanitarian research trip; made new friends; started one of CDU’s most active social clubs; been an Engineers Australia Student Ambassador for CDU; won three awards (so far) for outstanding achievement and commitment; and received various scholarships, proving that hard work does pay off!

I liked that my degree will be recognised in Europe, so I can work overseas when I graduate

Why did you choose CDU?

I have always loved science and have a strong practical side, so engineering was a natural choice. And as a local NT resident, CDU was the obvious choice for me. As well as being close to home, CDU is the only university in Australia with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s engineering degree that is accredited with the European system (EUR-ACE). This means my qualifications will be recognised in many countries in Europe, which sets me up to work overseas if I want.

What has been a highlight so far?

Last year, I travelled to rural Indonesia on a fully funded humanitarian research trip to study agricultural flooding issues. The trip was the basis of a design project and research thesis I’m working on as part of my studies. It was an extremely eye-opening and immersive experience. I love travelling, so apart from the projects being technically interesting and challenging, I also loved the opportunity to experience a different culture.


Engineering surveying - Shannon Kieran


What are your goals?

Sustainability is close to my heart and my goal in life is to work somewhere that’s leading the way in environmental consciousness. I want to feel like every project I’m involved in is contributing to a better future. I’d love to be implementing new technologies and more integrated ways of building. I’m really interested in timber engineering, water-sensitive urban design, permaculture, biomimicry, passive design and energy efficiency, green walls and rooves, and renewable energy.

Getting extra help, feedback and advice is easy

What do you like most about studying with CDU?

The lecturers are very approachable and it's easy to get to know them. Our class sizes are small and many lecturers also have an open-door policy, so getting extra help, feedback and advice is easy compared to many other universities.

How have you made friends at uni?

I’ve loved being involved in social and student clubs. In my first year, I met a couple of higher-year engineering students and we started the CDU Engineering Students Society (ESS) to help everyone socialise. We became (and still are) one of the most active and engaged student groups on campus. We love running our many events every semester and the highlight is our annual Engineering Ball. The ESS has been like a second family to me and many of my closest friends have been involved in the society at some point.


Shannon Kieran Engineering

Engineers are people who look at problems and say ‘I can fix that somehow’

What has been the most challenging aspect of studying for you?

The temptation to try and do everything at once! I say yes to everything and want to do it all – which is always interesting and pushes my personal boundaries, but it can be stressful! I'm learning to be more selective about new opportunities so that I can focus and manage my time

What do you like most about studying Engineering?

I love the mindset. Engineers are people who look at problems and say "I can fix that somehow", and I love this mentality.

The first year at uni can often be the most challenging – what did you do to make the transition easier? 

First year was definitely challenging, in the sense that it was scary because I didn't know what to expect. By the end of the first semester though, I'd found my feet and become pretty comfortable with my studies. Making friends early on definitely helped a lot.

What is your top study tip?

Find people who either share your enthusiasm for doing well, or who will infect you with their enthusiasm for getting things done. Studying with others is helpful, because there's always going to be situations when you can't figure something out and it’s handy to bounce your ideas off someone else. Don't just look to your own year level for study buddies, higher-year students can share invaluable knowledge and experiences.


Find out more about studying Engineering to help shape a better future. If you’re a CDU student, discover more about opportunities to study overseas


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