Irene Chandra took the skills she learnt as a tutor at the University of Melbourne and now mentors the rising stars of the mining industry.
Irene Chandra (TCFS 2012) reminisces about her days at Trinity with enthusiasm.
‘Trinity's curriculum really broadens your areas of interest. The fact that they have drama classes, literature classes – classes that I would not have typically taken – I really feel like those are important… You get to see the world from a different perspective,’ she says.
After graduating from Trinity, Irene completed her Master of Engineering (Chemical) at the University of Melbourne, an institution that she always saw herself being part of, having grown up in Indonesia and completed high school in Singapore.
‘I always knew I wanted to study at the University of Melbourne. You know, it’s such a beautiful city. There’s lots of vibrant culture in Melbourne.’
As part of her experience in Melbourne, Irene was offered a tutoring role through the Murrup Barak Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, teaching Indigenous students studying the Bachelor of Science Extended (BSc Ext) program.
Irene reflects upon her involvement with the program with immense pride, as well as an appreciation for the growth she was able to experience personally.
‘The most rewarding part was being able to help empower somebody. It's not just about teaching maths concepts, but it's also about empowering the students and showing them that maths is for everybody.’
Irene took everything she learned from these experiences into her professional career at Woodside Energy, where she works as a surveillance engineer. Irene is still passionate about mentorship and has continued to search for opportunities to help up-and-coming talent.
‘I'm currently mentoring a chemical engineering student at the University of Melbourne and there are a lot of people at Woodside, meaning that there are plenty of mentoring opportunities,’ she says. ‘I grow so much from these experiences, sometimes I feel like I benefit more than the mentees benefit from me.’
It is clear to see that the underlying theme with Irene’s motivation for mentoring lies within a passion of her own.
‘It’s really special being able to pass on my knowledge of something that I love.’
From a work perspective, Irene says that her career at the Karratha gas plant in Western Australia has not been without challenges, but she is grateful for the collaborative culture that the company has developed and for the way she’s been able to help guide others in the company.
‘Where I'm working is a major hazard facility and there's a lot of natural gas being stored and processed. High pressure and very cold temperatures. Since there are a lot of hazards, communication is really important,’ says Irene.
‘One mistake in communication can actually have a lot of repercussions. Communication is definitely important, and everyone has great value at Woodside, so it makes life a lot easier.’
While a large portion of her new life is taken up by her profession, Irene still makes time to connect with her former peers at Trinity College.
‘The friendships I built at Trinity have lasted until today. I always catch up with my friends from back in my Trinity days. Professionally as well, the teachers I had at Trinity, I still keep in touch with them.’
By Finn Blake