One of RMIT’s brightest stars, award-winning student Eve Smolinska is blazing a trail for women pursuing a career in the engineering industry.
RMIT courses prepare you better than any other university.
Eve, currently in her third year studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Infrastructure) (Honours), is supporting and empowering other female students on a similar journey.
“As a young student I attended a number of lectures and soon learnt about the impact of diversity on working environment dynamic,” she said.
“I wanted to go to local schools and promote STEM, to create an impact and provide encouragement which a lot of engineers did for me when I was growing up. As such an opportunity never showed, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.”
“This year, along with an incredible group of students, I founded a new academic and social club at RMIT, that is the Females In RMIT Engineering (FIRE). Our aims are to engage, support and empower RMIT female engineering students through organising peer mentoring, networking and industry events as well as organising STEM volunteering opportunities and promoting engineering as a career choice to younger students.
“We already hosted our first event and had a great attendance rate, which only highlighted the need for FIRE. I cannot wait to begin planning next semester’s events and see where this new chapter at RMIT takes us.”
Eve was born in Australia to Polish parents and spent much of her youth in the Polish capital, Warsaw. Possessing a natural talent for all things technical, the writing was on the wall for her career path from an early age.
“Ever since I was in primary school I was interested in technical subjects. Being from a family of engineers and listening to their conversations around the dinner table inspired me to want to play my part in shaping the world around me,” said Eve.
“Having grown up in Poland, I was exposed to state-of-the-art, brand-new public transport facilities and incredible architecture of historical value. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was 90% destroyed during World War II. After 1945 the Polish people worked tirelessly at rebuilding the country based on designs and paintings made by local artists, subsequently providing new infrastructure, transportation, homes and educational facilities such as schools and libraries to the public.
“I have always regarded engineering as a noble profession. To me, the beauty of engineering does not only lie in the constructed physical elements but also in its usefulness to the general population.”
Eve moved to Australia after completing high school in Poland, and enrolled at RMIT.
“The Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Infrastructure) (Honours) course provides students with a strong industry connection and practical approaches to learning through laboratories and project-based assignments,” she said.
“Now, beginning my third year at RMIT, I can see that I made the right choice. Every day I learn something new, solve a challenging problem, get to work on projects which are relevant to the engineering industry and meet people from all over the world.”
Eve said RMIT's Open Day was an incredibly motivating experience for school leavers.
“There’s great value for both young students seeking advice as well as current students attending. For the former, it’s an opportunity to listen to technical presentations from lecturers, find out what the course you’re interested in actually entails, and ask any questions you might have either about the studies or life on campus. For us as current RMIT students, we get to represent our chosen university and might make a difference by encouraging someone to choose the course we are passionate about.”
Recognition from her peers and mentors has been ongoing encouragement for Eve.
“So far, I have been fortunate enough to win four awards: the ExxonMobil Award for Excellence in Leadership, the BMD Group Scholarship and for the second year in a row, and the Civil and Infrastructure Prize, which is awarded to the best civil and infrastructure students in their respective year level,” she said.
“The awards were based on my high academic performance in first and second year as well as extra-curricular contribution and leadership skills.”
Eve has been president of the Civil Engineering Student Association (CESA), president of the Females In RMIT Engineering (FIRE) group and an Engineers Australia RMIT campus ambassador.
“These opportunities shaped me into who I am today and it is incredible to be recognised for them,” she said.
“My greatest advice to anyone who is considering studying at RMIT – do it and get involved. Attend the Open Day, enrol in electives that interest you, do a semester abroad, get a work placement and join a club (or two). A bachelor degree is just the first step in your future career and RMIT courses prepare you for it better than any other university.”
Story: Rowan Roebig