Inspiring tomorrow’s changemakers

Robotics to biomedical engineering, electronics and computer systems, Dr Sherry Randhawa has taught them all. The talented engineer has many accolades to her name, and right now she’s loving educating tomorrow’s engineers as Teaching Program Director for Engineering and Design at Flinders University.

What was it that enticed you towards engineering?

The ability to use logical and analytical thinking to solve problems. (And that I love Maths!)

What would you consider your greatest success in engineering ?

My greatest success is seeing my students evolve and grow from knowing little about engineering in their first year to when they graduate as highly qualified engineers after four years.

In terms of research, that would be when I saw the image processing algorithms developed during my PhD being realised in real-time on an FPGA! (FPGAs, Field Programmable Gate Arrays, are semiconductor devices based around a matrix of configurable logic blocks.)

Can you share an example of when you needed to be particularly creative?

As part of the IEEE SA Women in Engineering group, I have organised and run STEM Workshops for Rural Country High School Girls for the past five years. Our main objective is to raise awareness of STEM occupations amongst rural high school students (especially girls) and to encourage them to consider studying STEM subjects in their final years of school. We had to be creative in designing and developing exciting workshops to demonstrate to girls that doing STEM is fun and that they definitely have the ability to do it.

How do you attack a big challenge, or what do you do when the answer or way forward is not clear?

I try to see the problem from various sides and get a perspective. Understanding the problem takes time and patience, and having a positive outlook enables me to not fear the problem but rather look on it as an opportunity to learn and broaden my knowledge.

What words of wisdom would you share with your high school self?

To be brave and bold and seek new adventures. The world is your oyster; don’t be afraid to go beyond; you never know what treasures lie out there to be discovered…

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