Danielle Johnstone studied a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus and was fortunate to receive the AusNet Services Women in Power Engineering Scholarship. Danielle shares her journey to studying at Deakin, as well as what she enjoyed most about her experience.
Career path and highlights
Danielle had initially planned to complete an apprenticeship to become an electrician after graduating. However, after some encouragement from her high school teachers, she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Deakin University instead.
Danielle says, ‘It wasn’t until year twelve when my teachers convinced me to do my uni applications – even though I had wanted to do an apprenticeship – that I considered further study. I really enjoyed maths and physics at school. It made sense to go down that path and I am glad that I did’.
During her time at Deakin, Danielle was fortunate to be awarded the AusNet Services Women in Power Engineering Scholarship. This scholarship provides support to female students enrolled in full-time study with the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, by giving them financial aid, work experience and mentorship opportunities.
Danielle says, ‘It was really handy to have the work experience during uni and to physically see everything, rather than just read about it in a textbook. It was good to have that connection’.
Danielle further explains the benefit of having a mentor as part of the scholarship. She says, ‘It was good to always have someone that I could contact about literally anything because they’ve been to uni as well and been through it. It also helped me to understand the different areas of work’.
Due to the extra support Danielle received through AusNet Services, she was able to make the most of her university experience by participating in extra-curricular activities such as being a part of Deakin’s cheerleading team, Deakin Devils.
‘The scholarship support has made my university life a whole lot easier as it allows me to pay for my rent while I live in Geelong without having to work long hours at a part-time job. I have been able to make the most out of my university life, not just academically but also with extra-curricular activities. These activities have been great in building my teamwork, interpersonal and leadership skills, and fitness’, says Danielle.
Danielle has since completed her studies and taken on full-time employment with AusNet Services as a Graduate Engineer. ‘I work with engineers and colleagues from across AusNet, and sometimes from other companies within the energy sector, to ensure the electricity network continues to operate safely, reliably, and efficiently. This involves using plenty of different software to monitor the condition and operation of our network and its assets, as well as to analyse new additions to our network, such as new generator connections and network capacity upgrades. It can also include assisting in the creation of more efficient processes, such as data analysis tools, economically justifying upgrades to the electricity network, and trialling innovative, new technology to prepare us for the future in the energy industry’, says Danielle.
Her advice for students looking to pursue engineering is, 'Stay curious and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Engineering is so diverse with many possible career paths, leading to an ever-changing, rewarding career for life’.