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Darshika Premkumar, Opus
|In a nutshell:||Designing, analysing and inspecting the construction of various structures to make sure that they are able to withstand the necessary loads.|
|Why?||“It’s challenging and it stimulates your mind all the time as you learn something new every day.”|
Pathway Howick College, Year 13: Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Art History
University of Auckland: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), majoring in Civil Engineering
Her mother, a maths teacher, encouraged Darshika Premkumar to pursue an engineering degree.
“I was good at maths, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I applied for pharmacy, biomedical science and engineering,” she says. “Then I spoke to some of my father’s friends who are engineers and they said that it was a good profession to get into as there’s a lot of demand for engineers.”
Darshika now works in the Civil Structures team at Opus and she’s currently based at the Auckland Harbour Bridge site. She contributes to bridge design work, supervising, undertaking structural inspections, solving problems onsite as they come up and writing reports.
“Structural engineers are vital to our society as they solve problems in a cost effective manner and make life easier for us all. We design developments like bridges and roads that people use all the time to get around safely.”
She enjoys being an integral part of a team that makes a contribution to society, and says that it’s important to communicate well and be a good team player in her profession.
“I did some civil engineering on a construction site as part of my summer work experience. It was interesting because there were a lot of different personalities on site, and people from different backgrounds, including the tough steel riggers. It’s good if you can be positive and get along with everybody, as at the end of the day you just want to get the job done.”
Darshika finds her work rewarding and challenging, and enjoys developing her knowledge base so that she has the tools to ‘think outside the box’.
“It stimulates your mind all the time and you learn something new every day. When you’re designing a structure you get given a time frame and a budget, and you have to meet safety requirements and satisfy the architect’s design, so it’s always a challenge.”
There are many options for her future career, from becoming a technical specialist working on bridges or buildings, or moving into asset management or a project management role.
“At the moment my passion for structures is keeping me in the civil structures team but I’m very excited about what the future may hold.”
Posted November 2011