Amila Perera

Meet Babcock at the 2020 CDES Internship & Graduate Career Expo!

Amila Perera

  • ILS Engineer
  • Master of Engineering - Bioengineering

Did your career plans change as you studied?

I began my undergraduate studies pursuing Mechanical Engineering. However, during my final year, I was inspired by various bioengineering projects. As a result, I decided to undertake a bioengineering project as my final year project; In-vitro study of early stroke detection. Although this was a new field for me, I used the skills I had learnt during my undergraduate studies to develop my experimental setup and perform my computer simulations. Due to my curiosity and desire to explore this field further, I was a summer intern, research assistant, Masters student at the University of Auckland and worked in a start-up company in the field of bioengineering. Although the academic life was stimulating, I wanted to explore the industrial engineering life with large scale projects as I felt I needed more experience in this area.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?

My long-term goal is to become an entrepreneur with the experiences and knowledge that I have gathered in both academic and industrial fields. My short-term goals are to gain exposure and to be challenged in different disciplines within the industrial sector. I enjoy the challenges and stimulation that they would bring in a dynamic environment. Therefore, I would like to work on projects on a larger scale in various engineering environments. I believe overseas experience is also vital for new opportunities that will equip me with the ideal tools in my engineering toolbox skillset.

How valuable was your experience (including internships) for you as a student? How did this help you fine-tune where you wanted to head?

Internships provide an essential transition phase when moving from academic to industrial fields. The practical experiencs I achieved from my internship further developed my understanding of combining the academic knowledge acquired from university and applying this to solving real-world complex problems. Better yet, being an intern gave me opportunities to access and learn directly from people with years of experience, from whom are experts in their fields. The knowledge and skills I developed are priceless and aided me to excel in my career/maturity.

What is your key piece of advice for current students hoping to secure intern or graduate roles?

I believe everyone is familiar with the online research when it comes to looking into what kinds of disciplines are out there that suits you in starting your career path. That is a great start and well done! You can gain a better understanding of what different companies and disciplines are out there by attending events such as STEM Career Expo. You will be able to get answers to questions that you might not be able to find online or limited to a certain degree. This not only helps you to explore more opportunities but also helps you to connect more with other people to further develop your network.

The next step you would take to secure the internship/graduate role would be preparing for the interview. From my experience, keeping the interview preparation simple will enable you to feel more relaxed and ready. Overthinking an interview can lead to complication, but having a genuine interest in the company goals, along with showing how you can be an asset to their team in a memorable way would leave a great impression. In addition to that, this is also your chance to interview the company to further understand the environment, culture, ongoing projects and more importantly how you could see potential growth within that company. Best of Luck!