“You can’t be what you can’t see, so if I can represent not only women, but also people of colour in engineering, and speak up for change, why wouldn’t I?”
According to an article published by Engineers Australia, there is only 12% female participation in Engineering across the Built Environment here in Australia. There is no fundamental reason whatsoever why there shouldn’t be more women in engineering in Australia; 35% of engineers in Europe are women. Iran has more than 50% women in engineering and 70% of all STEM graduates are women. Similar representation needs to be achieved in Australia if we are to continue our place as global leaders.
For Women’s Health Week 2021, the team at Aptus took it upon ourselves to forge relationships with women who are leading the industry and highlight their passion, talent, and amazing stories about how they entered the industry.
Trang currently works within the Brisbane Buildings team to provide integrated, effective and affordable designs by embracing sustainability; optimising design form, material consumption and efficiency of construction; and achieving environmental and economic outcomes by considering the life cycle costs. With the non-traditional integration of Civil in the Buildings Unit, she is able to focus on integrating multidisciplinary services to collaborate with clients to effectively problem-solve and exceed client expectations.
We sat down with Trang to discuss how she stays well as a woman in STEM.
How do you maintain your own personal wellness (be that physical or mental health) in such a high-intensity, male-dominated landscape?
I came across the 4 burners analogy recently. You can have all 4 burners going at the same time, but you’re not going to be red-hot on all of them all at once. Turning one off allows you to allocate more energy into another. The four burners are work, family, health and friends.
Is there a female figure in your life, either personal or professional, whom you really look up to? Who is she and why?
Every woman who had to be the ‘first’ – Julia Gillard, first female Prime Minister + Marie Curie, first women to win the Nobel Prize (and won it twice in two different categories) + Edith Cowan, first ever female of parliament (also on our $50 note!). For all these women, they trail-blazed a path for other women to follow – opening doors and opportunities for others.
How has your experience with WIDAC and the incredible work that they do helped you grow?
Volunteering as a whole – I find to be incredibly rewarding. Being able to share your skillset and learn skillsets. Leaning into the practice of being uncomfortable (especially meeting new people!)
Do you have any advice for young women who are considering a career in STEM/entering the industry?
Do it. Knowledge is power. Take control of how our life have been designed – historically, we have had to navigate through a world that has been generally designed by others. When there is a dominant group, design is inherently targeted at that particular group. There has always been a bias in how spaces move, feel, and look. With the journey of diversity and inclusion moving forward, I believe that the future of the profession will literally be reshaping the communities and spaces around us. BE A PART OF THAT CHANGE.
Trang can be best described as a beam of light personified, with her infectious smile and ability to light up a room (even virtually!). Her heartfelt adoration for her job, and her passion for the future of engineering is contagious, and we’re so excited to see the ways in which she continues to change the face of STEM.
Watch Trang’s video snapshot below.