Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Aussie Electrical Engineer Sparks Career In The Creative Industries

Written by Elena Doncheva | Electrical and Electronic Engineering | Thursday 15th January 2015 13:09:00 GMT

Retno Widyanti, an electrical engineering student at the University of Melbourne, is helping to engineer a career path in the entertainment industry.

Retno Widyanti led Robogals Melbourne, an organization for female STEM students

Retno Widyanti led Robogals Melbourne, an organization for female STEM students

Retno Widyanti, an electrical engineering student at the University of Melbourne in Australia, has had many positive experiences within Robogals Melbourne.

One of the most influential organizations for female STEM students, Robogals has developed and attracted many new members. Retno’s CV boasts the presidential position of her local branch of the organization, a position she has had for the past two years.

"As president of the Melbourne chapter, I’d had [the chance] to work with my amazing committee, with all the inspirational members of Robogals as an international organisation, with the companies and sponsors who shared our goals, and with the wonderful schoolchildren we visited – the engineers of the future," Retno says.

She learned an important lesson during her two years heading Robogals – that great teamwork is crucial for the success of any company.

"I guess you could say I saw our goals being realised through so much productive collaboration,” she says.

Retno joined Robogals in her first year at the University of Melbourne. "From the moment I heard about the organisation, I knew I wanted to be a part of it," she says.

"Being one of only a handful of female engineering students at university, I was all for the cause."

Currently Retno is an intern at a company that produces film and stage mechanisms, as well as lighting.

"I guess, honestly, I fell into the creative entertainment industry by accident, although it didn’t come as a surprise to many," she says.

That is because she is fascinated by great art and design in any form, and she tries to delve into as many creative and artistic projects outside of study and work as she can.

Retno says: "I guess it was only natural that I’d look to volunteer for organisations and work for companies which combined my love for art and my love for electrical engineering."

"I haven’t worked in the creative entertainment industry for long, at least as an engineer," she says. "However, I can say that those special effects you see on stage and those perfectly timed lighting shows, and those super-cool colours which give your favourite musical characters life and depth, actually have lots and lots of engineering behind them.”

Working behind the scenes, she has grown to appreciate the theatre industry. "As you’d expect, engineering in the creative entertainment industry is a lot of fun and I’d definitely recommend it."

But Retno is still exploring the world of opportunities in front of her, she says: "I strive to be a role model for the next generation of scientists and engineers, by showing the world that technology is [an] exciting and a rewarding career path."

She has been fascinated and inspired by innovation and science since she was a child, she adds. “[I] would love to instil my passion for engineering into as many [people] as I can."

Her advice to young engineers is: "Take all the opportunities that are given to you. Seek new knowledge in everything [that] you do.

"Make meaningful and lasting connections while you can. Remember that your peers and your mentors are great sources of wisdom, and last – but never least – don’t give up on your dreams.”

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