Thursday, February 24, 2011

Engineers Without Borders Student Conference!

There is something that I've been keeping a secret from the Engineer-Chic space for some time now, but now that things are actually in motion, I'm so excited to blog about it!

So a quick recap about EWB (Engineers Without Borders) in South Africa. UCT is the only university that has been engaging in projects so far, with a few of the other campuses having just pulled together a committee. The group at UCT took about 3-4 years of planning, getting people involved and figuring how to do things before they were able to secure some funding, start engaging in projects and have the university take them seriously. The other university groups are going through much of the same right now, and I just think that it would be ridiculous to leave them to figure out things for themselves! There is much to say about institutional learning, and so much that we can share with others to help them get off the ground much faster than we did!

But for this to happen, we need to get all the students together from the various Universities in SA who have already been showing initiative in EWB.

So here's the plan:

To host EWB SA's first ever national event: a Leadership Training Conference!
The conference will fly 4-5 students from 5 SA Universities (other unis/ techs will follow in time), who have already shown interest in EWB and leadership initiative to a central location. On this conference, delegates will be introduced to EWB and will attend workshops that will teach them everything they need to know about starting and running a student chapter! Skills such as how to write a funding proposal, how to select the right kind of project and how to ensure the projects you complete are sustainable, and aligned with the interests and needs of the community you're serving are just some of the exciting things we're thinking about!

The LTC will also get EWB-enthusiastic engineers together as guest speakers, mentors and stakeholders. Apart from being an awesome networking opportunity, the conference might also serve to get a whole lot of the brightest minds in engineering together, to think about EWB and to help mold and shape our organisation into the future! 

I'm so excited about this, and just know it will be an awesome success. But I want to know what you think.  Do you think this is a great idea and if you do, can you think of ideas for speakers/ themes and key skills we should include in our program?

Email Engineer-Chic with your suggestions!  

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My First Project as an Engineer

So guess what? I have a real life pink hard hat! 

It is SO beautiful and is just the most perfect thing in the world right now.
(forgive the overreacting, but I've wanted one for ever and its finally mine!!!!!)

As you would imagine, work has been Uber busy of late. I have just completed a project concerning the throughput of our Crushing and Screening plant. The plant was designed to handle the output for two phases, but currently cant even handle Phase I's output! So I was sent in to try and locate the problem.

It was quite an interesting project, and I wish I could go into it a bit more, but I doubt my company would appreciate that very much! What was really exciting was that in order to assess the actual throughput rate of the plant, I designed and ran an experiment of colossal proportions. I stopped the entire crushing plant, and ran 400 tons of material through it! It took about 4 hours in total and a couple more to weigh everything up, but was a completely insane experience!

Having the Process Engineering Manager helping me along with a team of 8 other guys was at the same time really awesome and really terrifying! All the time I was thinking, 'OMG, I cant believe they are letting me do this. Do they know how scared I am?' And then, after an hour or two of things running shockingly well, my thoughts were, 'OMG, I cant believe I'm actually pulling this off!'

But the best part was when I got the initial results in, and they completely supported my inital idea of where the problem lay and I was all like, 'OMG, I think I just saved this company a couple million!' (thats just speculation, but I could have...just saying.)

So all in all, I'm loving being an engineer so far. Its so different to student life-very "Real World". I can actually see the effect of things that get done. People are working, really working and making things happen on this plant. Its a great study in Cause-and-Effect which puts things into perspective, especially as a recent graduate!  I'm learning so much, getting my hands dirty and meeting awesome people who are so willing to teach and guide. 

I'm currently working on my next project, which should take a few weeks to put together. 'Busy' just got a whole new meaning! 

Oh yes, and I found a new home, on an orange farm/ guest lodge, with orange orchards and dogs and river-rafting! I never thought I'd be so happy to be a farm-girl again, but this place is a dream...I know I'm gonna love my two years in Steelpoort! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love and Engineers

Its Valentines Day!

Isn't it just great to know there are millions of people out there that are celebrating LOVE right now?

(I really thought this was super cute)
So lets talk a little about love and engineering...Sure, we're not known to be the most romantic of disciplines, and yes, many of the engineers I know aren't naturally inclined to big shows of affection. Some, I must admit, prefer the company of machines to people (thats just a joke btw!). But everyone needs love, and everyone knows the crazy, dizzying feeling that comes with falling in love, even the most mechanically-minded of souls.

So I'm dedicating this post to all misunderstood engineers. Although I know you like to act tough, I also know that you're only human. So if you know an engineer, give them a hug today (and maybe even a kiss). 

And perhaps they'll send you one of these next year?

and my favorite...

Oh little Buggy! I just wanna eat you up!

Happy Valentines Day!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Africa on the Blog

I have very exciting news! I have started to blog for an amazing and incredibly awesome consortium of bloggers: Africa on the Blog-the Voice of Africa from all over the world.

This diverse group of bloggers has graciously allowed me an outlet for my deep and profound love for my country and continent: Africa. 

As a fellow blogger, Naomi says in her post Dream Destinations in South Africa: Ah Africa, whats to do but LOVE YOU?

African trees silhouetted in the sunset

Since I have recently relocated from the beautiful, cosmopolitan city of Cape Town to the rural yet divinely stunning settlement of Steelpoort, I have been astounded by the breathtaking, untouched stillness of Africa! It has inspired me! See my first post: I am African .So please everyone, check out the site! Looking forward to your emails and comment (which I absolutely love receiving)!

They Made me Do It!

So I happened to stumble upon UCT Engineering Faculty's newsletter and lo and behold, what do I see? Me!
I had heard that a picture from the EWB Cookout last year had made it into the newsletter, but was quite surprised to see myself and a colleague POINTING at some high-efficiency stoves! 


So since my embarrassment is already all over the web, let me take this opportunity to say this: they made me do it! It's true, the photographer thought it would be a good idea if we pointed at the stoves for the picture. I still love you M.H., but really? Notice how my face is very strategically hidden by my hair?

Well, at least we go a mention on page 8! Next year, let aim for page 5 at least EWB! 

But still very happy and proud that my AWESOME project got a mention!!!