UOW alumnus wins Engineering Student of the Year award

UOW alumnus wins Engineering Student of the Year award

Award recognises excellence in project work undertaken during senior years at the university

University of Wollongong (UOW) alumnus Benjamin Zietsch recently won Engineers Australia’s prestigious Student of the Year award for his honours thesis, entitled ‘Design, Fabrication & Testing of Sensorised Soft Structures for Fall Injury Management’.

The award is based on a written submission prepared by students that covers a significant engineering design and/or development task of the type required of a student during the final year of undergraduate study. 

Originally from Grafton, Ben joined UOW in 2016 to study a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours)(Scholar). He was a recipient of an Academic Excellence Scholarship, which enabled him to undertake the first of his three Summer Research Scholarships with the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the end of his first year.

He was also a recipient of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Scholarship that allowed him to study a semester in Japan and undertake an internship at a robotics company in Taiwan.

During his time at UOW, Ben was actively involved in the community and leadership roles that helped shape his university experience.

“I am delighted to have received this award,” Ben said.

“I got the most of what UOW had to offer throughout my degree –  it was a fantastic experience and this is the cherry on top.”

“I was involved in internship programs, co-curricular and extracurricular activities that helped me secure scholarships and great academic results.”

Ben’s honours thesis was supervised by UOW Engineering and Information Sciences Executive Dean Senior Professor Gursel Alici.

“Professor Gursel always has such a positive attitude. He was very supportive throughout my thesis project, and helped guide me during my final year,” Ben said.

Professor Alici congratulated Ben on his excellent achievement and praised his outstanding academic performance at UOW.

"Ben was a responsible, dedicated, innovative and hardworking student, a team player with many soft skills including emotional intelligence, which are a very good reflection of how we train and prepare our graduates for real life and make them life-ready graduates with basic research skills," Professor Alici said.

"Ben took a highly challenging research project for his honours thesis and successfully completed well beyond expectations, as evidenced by deservedly being selected as the Engineering Student of the Year in 2021."

Engineers Australia – Sydney General Manager, Greg Ewing, said the awards highlighted the importance of engineers in addressing the complex challenges of our times.

“The last 18 months have been particularly testing for our communities, as we face the ongoing effects from bushfires and COVID. Engineers continue to be at the forefront in addressing such challenges and these awards recognise and reward their outstanding achievements and contributions,” Mr Ewing said.

Ben graduated in 2020 and received an offer to join an engineering consultancy in a graduate role. Recently, he was headhunted by another company and currently works for them in a Building Applications Specialist role, focusing on improving the performance and sustainability of buildings in Australia.

Ben will represent the Sydney Division at the National Awards in November.