Kicking more than football goals, Newcastle Jets Westfield W-League squad player, Tara Andrews, is among the cohort of students who will graduate in ceremonies at the University of Newcastle commencing this week.
Pictured ~ Tara Andrews will graduate at the 10am Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment ceremony on Friday 12 April at the Great Hall
It was a curiosity to understand how things work which sparked the Jets mid-fielder to study civil engineering after her father initially planted the thought.
Growing up in Newcastle, Tara recalled she loved helping her Dad with maintenance jobs around the house.
I was always interested in how things worked and once I realised civil engineering incorporated my passion of maths, science and hands-on problem solving, I decided it was the right degree for me,” Tara said.
Now graduating from Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours, and landing a graduate engineer position with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Tara has proven she is more than capable of pursuing a career in the field, despite her initial self-doubt.
I had a lot of doubts during the degree and often wondered if I was smart enough to complete it. I contemplated changing degrees on multiple occasions,” Tara said.
I always got through it by putting in the hard yards though, and looking back I probably put too much pressure on myself at times.
I remember the joy when I received my first high distinction in my second last year of study – it made me realise I was good enough to do this degree.”
Juggling her professional football career and her studies, Tara said the University’s Elite Athlete program supported her with the flexibility to fulfil her elite sport commitments and achieve her academic goals.
I’m grateful the University accommodated my Jets commitments, and with their help I was able to reschedule exams or request extensions on assignments when the study load clashed with games or training,” Tara said.
Although she had little down-time, Tara loved going to football training as it was the perfect outlet to clear her head and unwind after a hard day of study.
Balancing competing priorities prepared Tara with real-world skills to excel in the workforce.
She took on an undergraduate job with ARTC, which also formed part of the compulsory Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component of her degree.
Tara said it was this practical experience which broadened her skill set, and really prepared her to become an engineer.
I learnt how to use my foundational knowledge of solving numerical and analytical problems, and apply this to real-world projects such as the renewal of the Farley Bridge and the installation of a new weighbridge.”
Now that Tara is graduating, ARTC have created a new three year graduate engineer position for her– a great testament to her hard work.
Tara hopes she can inspire other young women to consider engineering as a career path as it is very rewarding.