Final-year engineering and applied geology students shine at CUTSE Conference

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SPE Award Presentation: (L-R) Raja Diana, Shahul Hameed, Freddie Panau, Dr Jeroen Groenenboom, Kelvin Hii, Teh Yen Swan, Assoc. Prof Lau Hieng Ho.

Miri – 6 December 2010 – Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak)’s final-year engineering and applied geology students literally stole the limelight at the university’s recent Curtin University Technology, Science and Engineering (CUTSE) Conference 2010 on 29 and 30 November 2010.

They lived up to the conference’s theme of ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers and Geologists’ by presenting a total of 62 technical papers on multi-disciplinary subjects covering electrical and computer engineering, chemical engineering, civil and construction engineering, mechanical engineering and applied geology, in addition to showcasing their projects, innovations and research findings.

The annual CUTSE Conference has been organised by Curtin Sarawak’s School of Science and Engineering in partnership with industry and The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), Miri Branch, since 2006

This year’s conference saw engaging presentations and discussions on a variety of topics related to engineering and applied geology. Four plenary sessions were held in addition to the technical paper presentations.

Four prominent keynote speakers presented papers giving valuable industry and academic perspectives. They were Ir. Mohamad Sulong of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Thony Badak of Sarawak Shell, Ng Kam Loong of X-Fab Sarawak, and Prof. Zainuddin Abdul Manan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

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Happy Ending: All the CUTSE 2010 award recipients with CUTSE 2010 organising committee.

In his opening speech, deputy pro-vice chancellor Prof. Alistair Inglis, who represented Curtin Sarawak pro vice-chancellor and chief executive Prof. Ian Kerr, said he was very pleased with the involvement of the final-year students and the presence of distinguished keynote speakers from industry and academia.

“The participation of final-year students in this CUTSE Conference should be continuously encouraged. It will greatly enrich their learning experience, help them achieve Curtin’s graduate attributes and further prepare them for employment in industry upon graduation,” he remarked.

Organising chairman Freddie Panau, who is head of the School of Engineering and Science’s Chemical Engineering Department, meanwhile commented that this year’s conference showed once again Curtin Sarawak’s commitment to excellence in engineering and science.

The first plenary presentation entitled ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Palm Oil Industry’ was delivered by Ir Mohamad, who is a leader of the Bio-Processing Group in MPOB’s Engineering and Processing Division. He spoke of the current status of the palm oil industry, the challenges it faced, and what the future holds for a more sustainable palm oil industry.

This was followed by a presentation on industrial hygiene in the oil and gas industry by Thony Badak, a senior industrial hygienist with Sarawak Shell. He defined industrial hygiene and how it differs from industrial safety, adding that both are equally important to the industry even though industrial hygiene generally receives less attention from industry practitioners.

A third presentation entitled ‘Postgraduate Studies: Roadmap to Maximise Your Career’ was given by Prof. Zainuddin, a professor of chemical engineering who is the founding director of the Process Systems Engineering Centre, as well as dean of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Skudai, Johor. Prof. Zainuddin challenged the Curtin Sarawak final-year students to further enhance their career prospects by pursuing postgraduate studies.

Ng Kam Loong, the human resources director of X-FAB Sarawak, meanwhile, outlined career opportunities for engineering graduates in his company, a leading analog mixed-signal foundry in Malaysia with three other manufacturing sites in Germany and the United States. He urged the students to be skilled in more than one engineering discipline to broaden their career prospects.

At the close of the conference, an awards ceremony was held where awards were presented for the five best papers and five best presenters during the conference.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the prestigious Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Award for Best Technical Papers, which included a RM4000 cash award for each winner, to four students by the chairman of the SPE (Sarawak Section), Dr Jeroen Groenenboom. The students were Raja Diana and Shahul Hameed (applied geology), Kelvin Hii (mechanical engineering) and Teh Yen Swan (chemical engineering).

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