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CQU alumna heads up Downer’s scholarship program

Published:19 May 2022

Morgan Lewis

Morgan Lewis

CQUniversity alumna Morgan Lewis is working hard to break stereotypes and represent women in engineering as she heads up one of Downer’s scholarship programs.

The program, delivered by the leading engineering services provider, supports female engineering students during their studies and as they transition into full-time employment in industry post-graduation.

Miss Lewis said while she wishes it was not the case, women are significantly underrepresented in engineering.

“This is particularly evident in heavy industry settings,” she said.

“My goal for the students coming through the program is to provide holistic mentoring from both technical leaders in our teams to support their professional development, and an opportunity to engage with other women in engineering and technical roles.

“The aim is to create avenues for meaningful discourse around the challenges and opportunities in the sector from people who have been there and done it already.”

In addition to leading this program, Miss Lewis works as a Project Engineer, with various responsibilities to ensure overall project delivery. She said she is in this role thanks to CQU and the brilliant opportunities afforded to her by Downer during her scholarship.

“I was awarded the CQUniCares Downer scholarship in 2018 and gained subsequent work experience with Downer as a student,” she explained.

“To be leading this program on behalf of my business unit is quite the honour and hits pretty close to home.”

In 2020, Miss Lewis graduated from CQU with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Diploma of Professional Practice (Co-op Engineering) majoring in Mechatronics. She said choosing these qualifications was an easy decision.

"Growing up in Gladstone, I was familiar with CQU, in particular the Co-op program which offers students the opportunity to complete a minimum of two six-month work placements during their studies.

“I knew by having the opportunity to gain over a year’s experience prior to graduation that I would be well-equipped for wherever I may have headed,” she said.

Miss Lewis said she also appreciated the flexible study options at CQU.

“During my degree, I was able to work in Brisbane, Darwin, Roma, Perth and remote Western Australia with very little difficulty, attending the after-hours sessions when I needed or getting assistance from lecturers,” she recalled.

“I also took it as an opportunity to study and work full-time on some fairly remote sites.

"Working site hours to come back and study in a construction camp was definitely a challenge, but I was over the moon that I was able to do so much and consolidate my learning in the real world without sacrificing my university marks.”

When considering career aspirations, Miss Lewis encouraged students and graduates to engage with people that work for the company they are considering.

“Most people are more than happy to help young professionals who show some initiative, so reach out,” she insisted.

“If there are students who are keen to work at Downer, my advice would be to go for it.

"Downer is a massive organisation with everything from building maintenance, rail, roads, and – my personal favourite sector – oil and gas.

"There is significant opportunity to move laterally between businesses and up the rungs, so I would encourage all engineers to consider it.”