Georgia Keeshan changed her life when she enrolled in Civil Engineering in 2010. The then waitress from Victoria had been good at physics and maths at school and felt ready to knuckle down to study after travelling. "I had a passion for finding out how and why things work and I wanted to do a degree that guaranteed a job," she recalled. "I knew engineering had a wide range of employment and lifestyle opportunities and I listened to a talk about it at USC’s Open Day. I decided to do it."
Ms Keeshan is now a coastal engineer with Sunshine Coast Council, the local government authority serving a population of 285,000 and managing an area of 2,291 square kilometres from Eumundi in the north to Beerburrum in the south. She works indoors and outdoors, contributing to the sustainable growth of the region she loves, coordinating projects and inspections of council infrastructure involving revetment walls, beach groynes, canal dredging, locks, weirs and sea walls.
"As my work is usually in the tidal zone, where construction and maintenance are subject to approvals, I’m liaising with state and federal governmental agencies, council departments, community groups, customers and external contractors," she said. "I’m exposed to a variety of jobs, such as the maintenance of the Cotton Tree sandbag groyne at the Maroochy River mouth to make the beach nice and help protect the caravan park (from erosion). Going back to uni was tough but I feel proud to be really achieving something."
The engineering industry connections of USC staff, along with the focus on students as individuals, were highlights of Ms Keeshan’s degree. "I knew a dozen students who also got work through USC links," she said.