Both of Leela’s parents were scientists and were gaining their PhD’s while she was still in high school. And while Leela herself was very good at maths and science, her Mum actually told her to not look into science as there were no jobs there!
And then one day Leela attended a women in engineering open day at a university, and some female chemical engineers spoke about their exciting (and very tasty) work at the Cadbury Factory.
“For engineers who predominantly design and work on things for the future, we need to have imagination and curiosity to think deeply about what that future is and what it may look like.”
Leela’s fast facts
Future: It’s a great time to be an engineer! I think engineers are uniquely positioned to identify and take a number of factors into account when they design, plan and operate.
Advice: Engineering can take you anywhere. One thing I always stress to people who are interested in engineering is the sheer diversity of opportunities a career in engineering offers.
Interesting item: Blast Furnaces! Everything they do is still largely educated guesswork.
An engineer Leela admires: Professor Judy Raper, former Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at UOW.
“…having such a prominent female role model to look up to from the start of my degree was just amazing. She was always really passionate about working towards gender equality within engineering.”
About Leela Kempton
Leela Kempton is an Associate Research Fellow at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Wollongong. She graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from the University of Sydney in 2004 then worked as an industrial process engineer for a number of years before moving into ironmaking research. She completed her PhD through the University of NSW in 2014 whilst working at Bluescope Steel, with research focusing on numerical modelling of particle deformation within the blast furnace.
After joining the SBRC in 2017, Leela has worked on a wide variety of research projects. Through these projects, she has been involved in field research and monitoring environment conditions in social housing properties to understand the key drivers of condensation and mould issues. She has been involved in thermal modelling of wall assemblies and comparing the life cycle assessment of building construction options.
Recently she has been involved in co-ordinating the Sustainable Homes Challenge, which is challenging students to work together in multi-disciplinary and multi-national teams to design homes from waste-derived building products.
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