STEMM Profile: Anisha Dhungana | Civil Engineer | Arup | Brisbane | QLD

Anisha Dhungana [Image: University of Queensland]

“I am really inspired by the change in culture around images that are presented at posters and websites of STEMM industry and academic organisations, which nowadays depict a good ratio of women and men as STEMM professionals. This immediately feels more inviting to all genders”

Anisha Dhungana is a Civil Engineer at Arup and is currently working on secondment on the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane. Since graduating in 2016, Anisha has worked in transport infrastructure, geotechnical engineering and civil structures disciplines.

I have always been interested in how I can use my skills to help communities and shape a better world. For me, engineering has provided a platform to be able to do just that – to shape the built environment to make it beneficial and useful for the community. I have always enjoyed studying science and mathematics throughout my school years. However, my interest to study engineering arose specifically in high school when I did a two year course on ‘Engineering and Technology’ in grade 11 and 12. Through this course, I was really inspired to see how engineering was involved in the built environment and how it encompasses so many aspects including technical, social, environmental and cultural factors that are needed to create a better society.”

“I further went to study engineering at university and have really enjoyed learning engineering and how it can influence society. Currently, I am really interested in how I can incorporate sustainability, circular economy and international and local development into my day to day work and how I can use engineering to make our built environment livable for all living beings. I am very fortunate that the company I currently work for is very passionate about working ethically and ensuring that we use our skills to shape a better world.”

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?

The greatest attributes of a successful leader are to work ethically even in difficult situations and to have the ability to remain calm and optimistic even when situations do not go as expected. Most importantly, a good leader should have the wish to contribute to society, to inspire others and create a better world.

What support structures did/do you have in place that have facilitated your success?

I have been very fortunate to have some amazing mentors and supporters throughout my whole life. Firstly, my parents who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. At school, university and at workplaces as well, I have had many female and male mentors who have always supported and encouraged me which has really helped facilitate my success.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in STEMM?

One piece of advice to women just starting their careers in STEMM would be to be honest and follow your heart and do not think you have to change to fit in. Always work towards helping and supporting those around you – especially those junior to you and people that seem to be lacking support or attention in the organisation and community.

How can we best support the next generation of women in STEMM?

To support the next generation of women in STEMM, it is important to give them confidence in their own potential and to ensure women role models in STEMM professions are always presented to them (through language, images etc). I am really inspired by the change in culture around images that are presented at posters and websites of STEMM industry and academic organisations, which nowadays depict a good ratio of women and men as STEMM professionals. This immediately feels more inviting to all genders.

How do we keep more women engaged in STEMM-related careers?

To keep more women engaged in STEMM-related careers, we need to make sure workplaces are welcoming to both genders. For this, social activities, conversations and organisational structures should be inclusive and diverse. We also need to make sure that harassing speech, biased speech, sexual harassment and abuse is strongly opposed in STEMM organisations and a culture of friendliness, collaboration and respect is prevalent.

LinkedIn: Anisha Dhungana


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