Miri – 22 September 2011 – To highlight the importance of acquiring professional and soft skills for their future careers, the Chemical Engineering Department of the School of Engineering and Science at Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently organised the ‘Chemical Engineering Days 2011’ for approximately 150 of its second and third year chemical engineering students, as well as a number of geology students.
The 2-day event was organised in collaboration with the university’s Chemical Engineering Students Club (CESC) and sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE), Park City Everly Hotel Miri and Dynasty Hotel.
Themed ‘Towards Professionalism, Towards a Culture of Excellence’, the event was aimed at exposing the students to challenges they would face in their future careers and also guiding them in preparing for national-level chemical engineering competitions.
In his opening speech, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Curtin Sarawak, Professor Ian Kerr, commended the Department of Chemical Engineering and CESC for their efforts in organising the event.
He then kicked off the event by launching the Chem-E-Car, a prototype hydrogen fuel cell-powered car. The futuristic car is designed to run on electricity generated from hydrogen produced through hydrolysis.
Among the highlights on the first day were technology and design-related competitions and a series of talks and workshops.
The speakers comprised Jeremy Yong, William Tan and David Lee of Sarawak Shell; Nabila Hannah Samsol Bahri of the Society of Petroleum Engineering, Miri Section; and Dr. Aaron Goh and Lau Shiew Wei of Curtin Sarawak.
Jeremy Yong, an alumni of Curtin, briefed the participants on the oil and gas industry and the crucial roles chemical engineers play in it in his talk entitled ‘Introduction to the Oil and Gas Upstream Business – For Chemical Engineers’.
William Tan, in his talk entitled ‘Introduction to Production Process Safety’, shared some of the safety procedures and operational systems practised by Shell, as well as technical issues faced in the field.
This was followed by a talk on ‘Introduction to Ethics in Engineering’ by Dr. Aaron Goh, who is the director of the Curtin Sarawak Research Institute (CSRI).
A workshop on ‘Report Writing and Referencing’ was facilitated by Lau Shiew Wei, lecturer of chemical engineering and the CESC’s advisor. She enlightened the participants on the ideal structure of reports preferred by lecturers, shared examples of laboratory reports, pointed out common mistakes in report writing, and explained the correct style of referencing to avoid plagiarism.
Meanwhile, Nabila Hannah delivered a talk entitled ‘Introduction to the Society of Petroleum Engineering and Prospects in Petroleum Engineering’ in which she highlighted the benefits of joining the SPE. She also disclosed that the international professional body has plans to establish a SPE Student Chapter at Curtin Sarawak.
David Lee’s workshop entitled ‘Teamwork and Leadership Skills’ focused on the importance of soft skills, which he described as the foremost important skill for professionals, followed by technical skills. He also shared his working experience and stressed that the right attitude and self motivation can go a long way in advancing one’s career.
The event concluded with a sports carnival which saw the participation of 14 teams including a team comprising lecturers from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Acting Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Hannah Ngu, in her closing remarks, praised the members of the CESC for their commitment in organising the very successful event. She encouraged more students to be active in various extracurricular activities such as sports and also in academic-related competitions to continuously improve their skills and knowledge.
Also present at the closing ceremony were Professor Yudi Samyudia, Dean of the School of Engineering and Science; Dr. Perumal Kumar, senior lecturer of chemical engineering, and Emily Liew, lecturer of chemical engineering.
Professor Yudi, in his closing speech, touched on the interaction between students and lecturers through events such as the Curtin Chemical Engineering Days 2011 as a positive way of learning and discovering new opportunities. He also expressed hopes that more students would pursue the chemical engineering programme at Curtin Sarawak, which is identical to the one offered by Curtin in Australia and which is ranked amongst the top 100 programmes of its kind in the world.