Emerging engineer claims prestigious Queensland award
A SUNSHINE Coast student has taken out the 20th Michael Woodhouse Memorial Prize for his hard work and dedication.
The award was presented to an undergraduate student studying a water engineering-related project at a Queensland university.
University of the Sunshine Coast student Alex Caldwell took out the prize for his presentation titled Measuring water height within a stormwater collection network via innovative image analysis.
Mr Caldwell was the fourth Unviersity of the Sunshine Coast student to be awarded the Michael Woodhouse Memorial Prize in just six years.
"I was pretty surprised about the whole thing, to be honest,” he said.
"I've always had a knack for public speaking, but I was a pretty doubtful that my project would take it out - especially after sitting through the first day of presentations and seeing how technical and interesting the other students' projects were.”
Mr Caldwell said the prize came after months of hard work and a change of mind.
"After many sleepless nights, battling with R, MATLAB and Excel and a lot of cramming, I ended up failing the first semester of my thesis,” he said.
"I took the end of year break to revisit the project and focus on what actually interested me rather than what would look good on paper, and this was the result.”
Under the tutelage of USC's discipline leader of engineering Dr Helen Fairweather FIEAust, Mr Caldwell was able to work on his Michael Woodhouse Award submission.
"I was keen to work with my supervisor (Dr Helen Fairweather) as I shared her passion for combining civil and environmental engineering with open source programming, and this was the project she had available,” he said.
The emerging engineer now has his sights set on the road ahead.
"I started working in the industry in my first year at age 17, so I'm hoping to continue in a similar manner and hit a number of goals early,” Mr Caldwell said.
"I want to manage my own construction projects and eventually take a run overseas for a while and see how the rest of the world works.”