Cordelia Selomulya is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Monash University. As part of our series, Where great careers STEM from, we ask Cordelia to describe her academic path and how she has taken advantage of opportunities along the way.
My STEM journey started in high school in Indonesia, where I undertook specialised classes in Physics, Chemistry and Maths. I chose to continue my studies in Australia because of its proximity to Indonesia, I had an older sister who lived in Australia and because of the good universities and opportunities available.
My career path has developed over time. Role models were very important, and inspired me to do research. I was able to do research at an undergraduate level, and ended up publishing a paper on how the toxic material chromium could be removed from water using waste material (activated carbon from coconut shells).
Monash University's Cordelia Selomulya on having a career in chemical engineering. Supplied: Monash University
A career in chemical engineering can lead you anywhere. It’s not limited to just the chemical or petroleum industries, or what we think are the traditional industries for chemical engineers. Many of our Monash graduates work in pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology or even food technology. As a chemical engineer, you look at process, trying to optimise it to make it run more efficiently, produce less waste and to use less resources. And that expertise can be applied to a whole range of industries.
Chemical Engineering can make a real impact on the challenges of the present and the future. Issues such as water management, renewable energy, reusing waste and generating less waste.
Do you want to make real a real impact on the challenges of the present and the future? Supplied: Monash University
When we look to the future, other issues that a STEM education can address will be finding new materials and using materials that are less harmful to the environment. This will help us to tackle some of the challenges of environmental impact and resource management.
My advice to students would be to remain open to opportunities wherever they take you. If you are open to being placed anywhere around the world, then the possibilities and opportunities are limitless.
This material was produced by Monash University.