Looking back over first first year of uni I realise that it was a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. The projects we undertook as first year students were incredibly interesting and challenging. The best of these was the industry based project where local industries gave groups from the university real world projects that they would use our recommendations to base there initial research on. The project my group was given involved developing a system for the detection and removal of coal hang ups from coal wagons during there unloading stage and NRG limited, our local power station. The hang ups were were dealing with were between 10 kg and 50 kg and being small made finding a detection system, as well as a means of removing the hang ups from a moving wagon was a particularly difficult problem. We were also required to design infrastructure to hold the rig, develop costings and in the end construct a report with a recommendations. This was an incredible opportunity as we were giving the chance to visit the sites and come within arms length of wagons whilst they were unloading. The following link is to a video interview that I was in after we presented our findings for the project to an audience of some of the most senior and important engineers from the Gladstone region. http://www.youtube.com/user/CQUninews#p/u/29/WuKzK1vlZhM
The thing that surprised me the most about this project was a liaison with the power station was the highest ranked engineer on site, and that he was willing to give his time to invest in the next generation of engineers. The amount of support out there, in Gladstone particularly, for engineering students just blows your mind. Whilst on site an unloading coal wagon was slowed down to about a fifth of the speed it would usually be unloading at just so we could see it better, and in the process NRG would have had to pay for using the rail corridor for longer than required. I guess the biggest thing this project showed is that there are allot of people out there willing to invest allot of time and money into the next generation, and this is incredibly encouraging and reassuring.
Although this was the stand out experience to do with my studies of the year, there were also many other events that made the first year memorable. The single best part of first year was being awarded the Queensland Resource Council scholarship for CQU students. This scholarship is a very sort after has large monetary and networking rewards. I feel incredibly privileged to have been awarded this scholarship. This scholarship just goes to further back up my point that there is a huge amount of support for people taking up engineering degrees.