Engineering with a higher purpose - with Student Award winner Xiaowei Lin

Xiaowei (Lisa) Lin is one of three winners of the ACE New Zealand Student Award for 2021. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at the University of Auckland, majoring in civil engineering. She talks to us about her internship at Holmes Consulting and how she hopes to use her knowledge and skills to address global challenges.

Xiaowei Lin

Xiaowei Lin

Why did you choose to study engineering?   

Initially, I felt it was a stable career path with plenty of opportunities and it aligned with the subjects I enjoyed in high school. But after studying engineering for the past four years, I’ve realised my purpose in engineering has grown beyond that. I want to play a part in addressing global issues such as climate change, natural disasters, and the housing crisis with innovative solutions that are also sustainable. Before university, I never realised how important engineering was - for example when you enter a building the first thing you think about generally isn't whether the building is going to collapse because engineers make sure structures are safe to use - and I think that is what makes this career so admirable.  

Can you tell me about your internship at Holmes Consulting?    

It was an amazing opportunity because of the people I met and the experience of interning for both civil structures and structures. I was mainly involved in two projects, the first was designing a canopy extension for a facility, and the second was peer-reviewing retaining walls. It was the first time I was involved with real-world projects. I was inexperienced, but there was so much support available all the time and I learned so much during the 10 weeks.

Xiaowei Lin

What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?       

In 10 years, I hope to have built enough experience to be involved in senior leadership roles where I have the opportunity to lead a team to deliver a successful project. 

Can you tell us more about yourself outside of engineering?   

While engineering is a big part of my life, I also work part-time in retail because I love customer engagement and working with others. Other than that, I enjoy cooking and baking despite some catastrophic attempts, and I love to travel. 

What would you say to anyone thinking about studying engineering?   

Engineering is an extremely rewarding career path and by being a part of it you shape our future. 

What advice would you give to other students thinking about applying for the ACE New Zealand Student Award?  

Take the opportunity because who knows what could happen next.

Meet the other 2021 Student Award winners