Mature aged student Adam Drenoyanis graduates with Bachelor of Engineering.

Using acrylics, wires, springs and screws to create models of orthodontic patients’ mouth and teeth gave Adam Drenoyanis a taste of hands-on engineering and inspired him to change the direction of his career.

“I’ve always had a passion for tinkering with electronic devices, from pulling apart old TVs and radios when I was younger to building custom computers in my teens,” said Adam, who worked as an orthodontic technician for five years before deciding to pursue a degree in engineering.

“I woke up one day in the orthodontic lab and had a realisation that I could do more.”

Adam today (Thursday 14 December) joined hundreds of University of Wollongong graduates in celebrating the end of his degree, a Bachelor of Engineering.

Adam said while the juggle has been tough at times, balancing a number of part-time jobs with study, coming to UOW as a mature-aged student has been beneficial overall.

“Although there are the inherent extra responsibilities such as partners, pets, work and mortgages, I am at UOW because I really want to be,” he said.

“I am studying a degree that I am truly passionate about, and keeping on top of assignments and general study allowed me to excel.”

For the first two years of study Adam worked night shift as a security guard a few nights a week, while also supporting other students as a Mathematics PASS leader and private tutor for the UOW College.

During his third year of study Adam gained employment with Shoalhaven Water, the water utility tied to Shoalhaven City Council, allowing him to gain real-world industry experience and offering mentoring and support to allow him to grow as a professional engineer.

“Juggling full-time study and this kind of external workload required excellent time management skills. Keeping on top of assignments and general study helped me to excel,” Adam said. “There have been many late nights and missed events.”

Adam said that while he is commencing his PhD at UOW in 2018, building on his undergraduate research, the best adventure is yet to come.

“My wife and I are expecting our first baby, so there’s exciting times ahead!”

Words by Emilie Wells. Originally published on UOW newsroom