Olivia Widjaja

MEET OLIVIA

EOS, Electro Optic Systems, Defence and Space Technology Company
  • 2021 inaugural recipient of EOS Scholarships for future excellence in STEM
  • Awarded an EOS Space Systems internship and scholarship funding of $8,000
  • Studying Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Aerospace Engineering at the University of New South Wales

Tell us a little about your internship at EOS.

I’m very excited about my internship with EOS. I will be working with the Astrodynamics and Software teams to help refine an existing software program on constrained admissible region initial orbit determination. This program is used to quickly characterise the orbital state of a new object once it has been observed by the optical tracking systems. EOS’ real-time software is core to their space domain awareness capability, enabling better intelligence for protecting Australia’s space assets. I get to work with real space domain awareness data and gain experience in the Australian space industry, that’s a fantastic opportunity!

What’s your favourite branch of your subject?

I enjoy taking design courses, where I’m given a problem and we have to design a product to solve the problem. I get to put the skills I learn on my course into action. I recently learnt how to operate a lathe machine, mill and use a drill press. That was very exciting!

What are your goals within STEM?

I’d like to learn as many unique skills as possible and use them to push the boundaries of the space industry. I’d also like to make STEM accessible and understandable to the general public since I believe it is important for everyone to be aware of scientific issues and developments.

How is EOS’ scholarship going to help you achieve your goals?

EOS’ scholarship will help cover my funds when I move to Canberra for my internship, which will help me gain more skills that will be useful for my career.

How do you plan on using your scholarship funds?

I’ll be using the funds to cover my expenses when living in Canberra. I’ll also use them to purchase new equipment to suit my studies.

What led you to where you are today?

I enjoyed watching ‘Big Bang Theory’ when I was younger, but I wanted to understand all the science jokes they made so I researched as much as I can to understand the jokes. On top of that, I was starting to feel impatient that my primary school wasn’t teaching science, so I took the initiative to learn and read about physics and Stephen Hawking’s books. Since then, I pushed through school wanting to be an aerospace engineer and eventually go to space.

Who do you admire and why?

I admire Dr Christyl Johnson, who is the first female African-American Deputy Director of NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre because when I met her, she was brutally honest about her experiences as a woman of colour, which made me feel validated due to my hardships studying in the STEM industry.

I also admire Professor Danielle Wood, who is an assistant professor at MIT Media Lab because I find her goal in making satellite technology accessible in developing countries very inspiring and admirable.

How important is STEM education?

I think learning STEM skills is essential since it teaches us how to critically analyse quantitative data and present the analysis in a qualitative manner.

How do you think that companies like EOS can really inspire young women like yourself to successfully pursue and achieve their STEM careers?

Companies can help by organising outreach programs to promote their stance on supporting young women in pursuing a STEM career, whether it’s promoting it to high school students or being open to collaborating with university student societies so they can find and support more female STEM students.

We often hear people talk about having a “successful career in STEM”. What does this phrase mean to you?

In my opinion, having a successful career in STEM means making an impact and pushing the boundaries of STEM, as well as eventually making a positive impact on society. This is why I highly value my STEM education because I’d like to help improve everyone’s understanding on space and make space accessible to everyone.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I hope to see myself working in a company that specialises in space sustainability such as EOS or Astroscale and hopefully reducing the amount of space debris in preparation for commercialising spaceflight.

Contact Electro Optic Systems for more information