Kate Cousins - TC '96

Having always had a love of Lego design, it was no surprise that when Kate Cousins (TC '96) started at Toorak College in 1991, she showed a natural flair and passion for Maths and Science. In year 11, in order to keep her options open, Kate studied English, Physics, Chemistry, Maths Methods and Specialist Maths. When Kate noticed the course description for a Bachelor of Engineering mentioned working with Lego, writing computer programs and focusing on Maths, Kate sensed this was the perfect degree for her...

Having always had a love of Lego design, it was no surprise that when Kate Cousins (TC '96) started at Toorak College in 1991, she showed a natural flair and passion for Maths and Science. In year 11, in order to keep her options open, Kate studied English, Physics, Chemistry, Maths Methods and Specialist Maths. When Kate noticed the course description for a Bachelor of Engineering mentioned working with Lego, writing computer programs and focusing on Maths, Kate sensed this was the perfect degree for her.

Kate completed her Swinburne University Bachelor of Engineering in Robotics with honours. Graduating alongside her were just four other women out of a class of 70 and Kate was soon to discover that this male to female ratio would be common place across her industry throughout her professional life. As part of her degree, Kate was required to spend 12 months as a student with a company in the industry. Kate landed this placement at Delphi, a company which designed and manufactured shock absorbers and steering gears for Ford, Toyota and Holden. It was during this time that Kate caught the Automotive bug.

During her final year at university, Kate applied for the graduate program at Holden, where approximately 600 people applied for the six available roles. Kate was the only female to be successful and commenced in 2006. 12 years later, Kate one of three female Engineers at Holden amongst 50 men, is the Lead Technical Expert for Active Safety, a part of the organisation which focuses on features like automatic braking, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

Reflecting on being a minority in her industry, Kate notes this as individually being a positive thing, as she has been given many opportunities to stand out and shine. However, from an industry perspective, Kate is well aware of the need for more women to choose STEM careers, noting “women bring a different element and thought process to areas of STEM which is beneficial for the industry on the whole; companies are now in desperate need to recruit talented females”.

Being an Engineer in a global company such as General Motors has given Kate amazing opportunities; she has travelled to the US, Canada, Germany, China and right around Australia and New Zealand testing vehicles and attending conferences.

As for working with so many men, Kate says it isn't all that bad, after all it was in one of those Lego uni classes she met her husband..

Kate is excited to hear of Toorak College’s plans for the new Science and Technology Centre project which will foster girl’s passions for STEM subjects and encourage them to consider the STEM industry as a career.

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