Click to read Jodie's story

First year University of Newcastle student, Jodie Cochrane, is determined to make her mark in the Australian engineering industry, a domain in which less than 12 per cent* of employees are women. However, as the inaugural recipient of the Catherine and Peter Tay High Achiever Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship, Jodie isn't fazed by the fact she is entering an industry that has traditionally been male dominated. 

"I've wanted to study engineering since I was 11. As I got older and started to learn more about what engineering was, I thought, this is the degree for me. I've always been really interested in maths and physics, and their everyday application."

With the ultimate goal of using her degrees to work in power supply and renewable energy, Jodie aims to eventually undertake a PhD in this area. Achieving an ATAR of over 99, combined with her burgeoning passion for sustainable resources, Jodie is well on the way to realising her dream.

"You continually hear in the media about global warming and I've always thought: why don't we just swap to renewable energy? I think the reason we haven't is that it's more expensive than other options. I chose electrical engineering because one day I'd like to work in renewable resources and learn how to make them more efficient – I've always had a strong opinion about this."

Although holding three academic scholarships, Jodie has continued to work at a local café to help balance her studies. To remain motivated throughout her HSC, she used the possibility of winning an academic scholarship as incentive.

"I always used it as a form of motivation. I'd tell myself: if I do this extra study, I might be able to get over 99 in my HSC, and in the end it worked."

To high school students hoping to gain entry into engineering, Jodie has the following advice:

"I'd recommend studying higher level maths and physics in years 11 and 12 – this will provide a solid groundwork for engineering, especially electrical. I've found that summaries are a great study tool, particularly for my science subjects. For maths, I'd always be doing practice papers and practice questions."

Having just joined Robogals, a UON student volunteer organisation that aims to get more females into Science, Engineering & IT by offering schools free workshops, Jodie is keen to do her bit to promote this cause from an electrical engineering perspective.

* Source: Engineers Australia Statistical Overview, 2011.


1.       What's your most inspiring quote?

My most inspiring quote would have to be 'it's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.' It reminds me that we can achieve success if we are resilient and continue to motivate ourselves to try again.

2.       Who inspires you and why?

The person who inspires me most is Albert Einstein. The way in which he was able to think outside of the box, and suggest theories that at the time seemed physically impossible, teaches us that as great as the barrier may appear, there are always ways to overcome them.

3.       If there's a secret to a happy life, what is it?

The secret to a happy life is to make a living out of something you are passionate about.

4.       What's your greatest goal?

My greatest goal is to be successful in both my personal and professional life. On top of pursuing a career as an electrical engineer, I would love to have a family.

5.       If you could have one wish, what would it be?

If I had one wish it would be to make our world sustainable; to remove our dependence on non-renewable resources and ensure that anything we take from the environment is replaced.

6.       Finish this line: I'm grateful for…the society that we currently live in; that women are free to continue their education at university and enter into a professional career.