Meet Nami: Master of Engineering (Mechanical) student

Master of Engineering (Mechanical) student, space enthusiast and leader of change. These are some of the ways to describe Nami Rizqiandri.

Originally born in Indonesia, Nami moved to the United States at age seven, before spending time living in Western Australia.

Given all of this travel, it’s no surprise Nami was fascinated with aeroplanes, trains and cars as a child. She always wanted to know how it all worked.

As an adult, this fascination turned towards SpaceX rocket boosters and the innovative engineers behind this feat.

Now Nami is pursuing her passion by studying how things move, otherwise known as mechanical engineering.

Choosing Melbourne

Nami decided to study in Melbourne because she fell in love with the vibrancy of the city.

She specifically chose the University of Melbourne because of the flexibility offered. It suited Nami to explore a variety of disciplines, as part of her Bachelor of Science degree, before settling on her specialisation.

“I wanted to have the flexibility of studying different types of engineering subjects before I fully committed to one major of engineering. I believe the Melbourne curriculum does this really well, as I was able to be confident in my decision to pursue mechanical engineering by the third year of my undergraduate degree.”

Nami then continued at Melbourne for her graduate studies because of the program’s global recognition. She could graduate in five years with a master’s degree that gave her Engineers Australia and EUR-ACE (European Accredited Engineer) accreditation.

“Being able to work as a fully-accredited engineer in Australia, Europe, the United States and more, is highly appealing to me. I grew up in three different countries that includes Indonesia, Australia, and the United States. Having an accreditation that would allow me to work world-wide would be highly beneficial to my career and satisfy my interest to explore the world,” she explains.

Her study experience

Nami has been learning about a range of topics, including thermodynamics and even rocket science.

Initially, Nami found studying concepts like this daunting, but this changed with the support of helpful lecturers and by relating her studies to real-world situations.

“We really learn how to be resourceful and be independent thinkers; these skills are what will stay with us long after we leave university. In short, studying this degree is a challenging experience, but it is also a very satisfying challenge,” says Nami, reflecting on her study experience to date.

Her time at Melbourne has also allowed her to pursue other breadth subjects, such as economics and visual arts – giving Nami an outlet to express her creative side.

The breadth subjects at the University of Melbourne made my university experience a lot more enjoyable, a lot more fun and I got to pursue my interests.

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Extra-curricular experiences

On top of breadth subjects, studying at Melbourne has provided Nami with many opportunities to expand her knowledge. A highlight was attending a two-week entrepreneurial mindset program in Los Angeles, fully sponsored by the University. Here she was able to expand her network; she was mentored by experts in leadership and even met one of her best friends through this experience.

“I am grateful to the University for this experience as it inspired me to have a growth mindset. It really made me have a more optimistic view when approaching problems and imagining the possibilities of solutions.”

Two takeaways that have stuck with Nami from this program; don’t be afraid to ask for what you want in life, and to get used to rejection– it will happen a lot but the experience can make you grow.

The program also provided valuable industry experience; Nami learnt how engineering and other industries are inter-connected.

“Through this two-week entrepreneurial mindset program, it really allowed me to have a better understanding of how start-ups work and how engineering can actually relate to that. In a way, the things that you do in a start-up has the same thought process as what engineers typically have.  As engineers, our goal is to build things as efficiently as possible. In a start-up, the goal is to make something as fast as possible but with the lowest cost.”

Nami was able bring the problem-solving strategies that she learnt in Los Angeles back home with and apply it to her engineering studies.

Another university experience that stands out when talking to Nami is her involvement as a committee member for Robogals – a University club.

It is through clubs such as this that she met many of her university friends. It also allowed her to meet other female engineers who are a part of the university community.

Robogals, in particular, aims to encourage more girls to pursue STEM subjects by running workshops in schools. So far, Nami has led workshops to over 800 students in Victoria, and it’s clear she’s inspiring the next generation of female engineers by being a positive role model.

When speaking about Robogals, Nami explains that, “it’s really rewarding to see the happiness in these children’s faces and to see them being really inspired by what we’re doing. In one of the workshops that I’ve led, a student came up to me and not only said thank you, she also drew a picture of me. I just found that really touching, because I didn’t know I would get noticed, just by being who I am and by leading a workshop…I hope they leave with a different perspective of engineering.”

Her advice

Nami has learnt that it’s best to be proactive if you want to get the most out of your university experience.

“University is just a foundation and not a destination…Grades aren’t everything. What matters is what you leave university with; the friendships you make, and the skills and experiences you gain by networking with people, and by taking part in extra-curricular activities.”

Her future ambitions

Nami is using her time at university to narrow down the field of engineering she wants to pursue in the future. What she knows for sure is that she wants to be a leader of change.

“My biggest aspiration is to leave a positive impact on society through engineering. I aspire to someday work in the energy or transport industry and contribute to projects that are beneficial for society. In the short-term, my ambition is to actively help create positive change and this is reflected in my involvement with Robogals.”

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