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For Deakin University engineering graduate Kyle Nelson, staying up all night repairing his sumo robot so it could do battle in a competition the next day was one of the more stressful and challenging moments of his degree – but it also made him realise just how much he had learned.
“I majored in mechatronics and robotics and in the final year we built our own sumo robots to compete against each other. The night before the competition my robot broke down and I stayed up all night to fix it – a few of us had to do that – I was really proud that I was able to stick with it and get it fixed and working in time,” Kyle said.
“It was great to put all that I had been studying into a project to create something tangible, to put it into practice and piece it all together. I realised just how much I had learnt.”
As well as recently graduating with an honours degree in engineering, Kyle also received several awards. These included an Alfred Deakin Medal, awarded to the eight most outstanding undergraduate students graduating each year, and a Vice-Chancellor’s Prize, awarded to the top honours thesis in each Faculty.
Kyle said he really appreciated the awards as an acknowledgement of the hard work he had done.
“You don’t start out the year thinking about awards, but they were a great reward for the effort I put in over a sustained period. The final year of my degree was extremely demanding and just to get to the end of it was nice, so the awards have been a great way to cap off all that hard work.”
Kyle’s interest in engineering was encouraged by an Open Day visit to Deakin when he was in Year 11 at Trinity College in Colac.
“Being from Colac, I was familiar with Deakin and had been here for several excursions and competitions. Then I came along to Open Day when I was in Year 11 and was fascinated by the work being done at Deakin in haptics (force feedback technology) and at the Geelong Technology Precinct.
“During VCE I visited a lot of universities, including several interstate, and considered different options, but in the end decided on Deakin – I felt the engineering course at Deakin really suited my interests, and I liked the idea of being able to study here in Geelong.”
The decision was obviously the right one for Kyle. He was awarded a place in the Dean’s Scholars Program while studying for his degree and has remained at Deakin to do his PhD.
“I feel the University has really looked after me, right throughout my time here. People suggested staying on to do a PhD and I’m glad I took that opportunity. I’m enjoying being a researcher, so a future career in research and development is a possibility.