Father of two ready to create change through chemical engineering

20 Dec 2018

It was a desire to help others and improve sustainability that led UQ graduate Rhys Thomson to major in Chemical engineering.

“I noticed that the degree was focused on the big picture and that sustainability was highlighted, in an environmental sense, but also socially and economically,” he said.

“It quickly became apparent that I could use Chemical Engineering to help people through assisting in a wide range of projects, including WASH projects in developing countries.”

After five years of studying through UQ’s integrated Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Masters of Engineering Program, Rhys graduated last week and has accepted a full-time job with GHD’s Water Process and Systems team.

“In a bid to try and hit the ground running I’m doing a research placement this summer on Side-stream Enhanced Biological Phosphorous Removal, a wastewater treatment process,” he said.

“Aside from being something I find interesting, I’m hoping the experience I get this summer will put me in a good position when I start at GHD in February.”

After seizing the opportunity to spend one of his semesters on exchange at the Technical University of Denmark, he has his sights on taking his career across the globe.

“The experience of living overseas for 6 months developed my independence, my appreciation for different cultures, and really highlighted the different standards of education,” he said.

“It became clear that UQ was a great university for Chemical Engineering.”

“Denmark was also a stunning country, and my exchange has driven me to pursue an international career.”

The journey to graduation has been one filled with plenty of milestones and challenges for Rhys, including the birth of his two children Louie and Lyra in his fourth and fifth years.

“It has been particularly challenging juggling parenthood with full-time study and part-time work, but it certainly gave me ample opportunity to develop my time management skills,” he said.