“Power generation is such an exciting and diverse industry to me, a somewhat strange realisation when for the first eight years of my life I lived off-grid.”
Project Engineer for EnergyAustralia, April Jewell grew up on an idyllic riverside acreage 30 minutes outside Mudgee, NSW in an eco-friendly, off-grid home. When she was 8 years old, her family embarked on an unusual adventure that would shape her future.
“Mum and Dad undertook an owner-builder project that modernised the family cottage, including connecting to mains power. It was through my family designing, planning and building our home, while living in it, that I discovered a passion for what I came to know as Project Engineering.”
With an Engineering focus, April explored her higher education options, considering several universities before selecting ANU.
“Although Canberra was further away from home, I felt it had all the amenities of a big city with the benefits of access to the outdoors and fresh air. It was the perfect place to step out as a young adult. Importantly, I liked the idea of the Systems Engineering focus of the ANU programs.”
During her years of study at ANU, April explored infinite possibilities. She formed fantastic, enduring friendships and seized unique opportunities.
“Initially I acted as interpreter for my Chinese housemate, when my partner with strong Australian accent and frequent use of colloquialisms came to visit. A few years later, when we visited her in China she was still fluent in the ‘Australian’ dialect.”
“I was Secretary and later Industry Liaison Officer of the Engineering Student’s Association. Being actively engaged with this organisation allowed me to give back to the engineering community, have a lot of fun and develop valuable skills and networks that set me apart to employers.”
“ANU is a great place to study engineering. The College of Engineering and Computer Science is a growing and innovative hub that offers great facilities and, thanks in part to the work of groups such as the award-winning student association Fifty50, an increasing focus on inclusion.”
Perhaps as a result of the formative experience of transforming her family home so many years ago, April’s passion lies in hands-on engineering work.
“Although I was offered a consultant position at the end of fourth year, I wanted to get stuck into some more hands-on engineering and work with mechanical plant. I felt this would make me well- rounded for the future. Five years later, I am still enjoying the challenge of working on big plant.”
April reflects on her time at ANU: “I am the sum of my experiences and studying at ANU has had a significant influence on where I have ended up and how I operate. I aspire to understand the big picture and consider the system when undertaking engineering projects.”
“Being part of such a diverse industry, undergoing drastic change is both exciting and demanding. Looking beyond Australia to other countries to learn and be part of this transformation is a rewarding experience technically, professionally and personally.”