Studying mechanical and mechatronic engineering enabled Kate Leone to help children with a disability and experience an internship in Hong Kong.
“I love knowing how things work,” says Kate Leone. “I was a very creative child growing up, but I also loved maths.” Thinking about future studies, engineering seemed like a great way to combine the two.
Specialising in mechanical and mechatronics, the fifth year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student was initially attracted to the course’s internship program. Two six-month industry placements provided valuable real-world expertise and soft-skills. “It was something that I knew employers would regard more highly than someone with good grades and no experience.”
Kate’s first internship was at Hong Kong airport, where she worked for a German company automating the Cathay Pacific Catering Services facility.
The planes would drop all of the food trolleys. Workers would sort them out into boxes and from that point on, the entire system was automated, which was incredible.
The experience was a valuable lesson in cross-cultural collaboration. “Explain to people your ideas and take time to understand theirs, especially when there’s a language barrier or differences in technical knowledge.”
Her coursework at UTS is equally compelling. Kate’s final year Capstone project involves working with UTS Rapido, a unit delivering technical solutions for industry, and AbilityMade, a startup helping people with disabilities access needed equipment.
I’m helping them develop a 3D printed ankle-foot orthoses solution. It helps children born with cerebral palsy to walk, so there’s potential to avoid wheelchairs later in life.
The traditional method of fabricating orthoses involves casting the patient’s foot, vacuum forming the orthoses and modifying it by hand, she explains. AbilityMade’s 3D printing and scanning technologies reduce the time from waiting-list to final product from over 12-months to 48 hours. Kate is exploring different surface finishes, materials and 3D printing techniques for the orthoses.
Seeing various projects at UTS addressing disability was an inspiration, she explains. “Not everyone grew up the same way that I or other people within this building did. I’ve always wanted to do engineering to get a skillset where I could give back.”
Shape the future
Open up a world of high-performance opportunities with an undergraduate major in mechanical and mechatronic engineering.