As a child, Hanri de Bruin loved taking things apart.
A family friend told her she’d make a great engineer one day and the notion seems to have stuck.
“I just always thought about engineering,” says Hanri, who is in the second year of a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Electrical, specialising in Mechatronics) at Otago Polytechnic.
“When I got to high school I was able to take electronics as an elective and I loved it. My teacher said I should consider doing electrical or electronic engineering. I settled on electrical engineering, specialising in Mechatronics.”
Hanri is now enjoying a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, attending the International Summer Academy in Engineering for Women at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria from 10-25 July.
The Summer Academy’s intensive, two and a-half week programme combines sophisticated theory with hands-on practical experience. In addition to the general programme, each participant can choose a three-day specialised module in Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology or Computer Science and Informatics.
Hanri is particularly interested in Natural Sciences as well as Computer Science and Informatics.
“Technology is always changing and can be hard to keep up with, so I think the Summer Academy will help outline what advances are being made.
“Staying up to date is very important for my future career in the engineering industry.”
Hanri is also aware the International Summer Academy in Engineering for Women offers experiences beyond the classroom.
“It’s a great chance to meet other women who love the things that I love.”
Hanri says she wasn’t a particularly gifted academic student at high school. In fact, she was more sport-inclined.
“I still am. Maths and physics didn't come easy for me at all. Because I wasn’t very good at maths in high school, I was discouraged to take calculus and told I would find it too hard.
“But I really wanted to do engineering and just decided that I’d make it happen, so I worked harder in maths and got a tutor for physics and that worked well for me.
“Here I am three years later, having just sat an exam in algebra and calculus.”