Kirsten Nel

Kirsten Nel

Kirsten came to Waikato University from Fraser High School in Hamilton to study a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (BE(Hons)).

School Leavers Merit Scholarship
Engineering Fees Scholarship

Kirsten Nel

Waikato was her first choice because of glowing reviews from other students. "I also already knew numerous students from the year above me who were doing the same degree and only had good things to say about it."

Once she was immersed in her study, she was blown away by the hands-on element of the BE(Hons) which includes 800 hours of work experience as part of the four-year degree.

"At the end of our second and third years, Waikato staff helped us find paid work placements over the summer holidays. The mix of theory and practical is pretty even which means that we spend just as much time learning as putting concepts into practice."

Work placements at the Gallagher Group, organised by the University of Waikato's Faculty of Science & Engineering, were perfect opportunities for her to prove herself and gain experience in her dream job. Since graduating from Waikato, Kirsten has enjoyed a career at the Gallagher Group starting out as an electronic engineer and working through to now being a lead engineer.

"During my time at Gallagher I have been lucky enough to be involved with the community and support local Hamilton schools through the Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEP) program." This project involves visiting year 9 and 10 students in the classroom and showing them how Gallagher uses Maths and Science during everyday work experiences. "We get to show them around the Gallagher site to reinforce the learnings from the classroom and to provide practical experiences of maths and science. This experience is a highlight; the students begin feeling very skeptical but quickly see how exciting maths and science can be in the workplace."

Kirsten's personal goal for this type of work is to especially show female students that working in Science and Engineering fields can be interesting and achievable.

Another highlight includes working across all the different electronic product categories Gallagher has to offer such as Electric Fence Energizers, Weighing and EID as well as Security. "This experience has given me a wide base of knowledge across the business units enabling me to better understand how different products are designed to meet the needs of customers and industries."

Kirsten has been promoted to Lead Engineer which means she is responsible for all technical aspects of the security product category and its associated technologies as well as providing functional leadership and technical mentoring to the engineers assigned to projects within the category.

"Being constantly challenged keeps my work interesting and allows me to become a better all-round Engineer."

Kirsten Nel