Giving students a different perspective
BlogGiving students a different perspective

Ali Shad (pictured) works as a Senior Electrical Engineer at Bechtel and last year volunteered his time to be an EWB Challenge Reviewer, assisting EWB Australia assess project submissions from the thousands of first-year University students who participate in the EWB Challenge each year.

As a student at uni, Ali felt he didn’t get much input from experienced professionals on his coursework, learning a lot about the theory but not so much about the practice. As an EWB Challenge reviewer, he welcomed the opportunity to help provide that perspective to students in relation to their work.

Although an electrical engineer, none of the submissions Ali reviewed had anything to do with his discipline. Says Ali, " I don’t think that really mattered; the value reviewers bring is with their external perspective. Having attended various EWB workshops in the past I tried to put myself in the shoes of the community and made sure that ideas were clearly articulated with the end-user in mind."

Ali reviewed three projects and found the process straightforward, and inspiring. 

"The students had put a lot of time and effort into the EWB Challenge! The really great submissions used project management techniques to structure their submissions: creating programs, assessing solutions from a cost perspective, and doing heaps of research. The ones that really stood out used Human Centred Design to put the community (or stakeholders) front and centre of everything they were developing. This is something that is even applicable to my day job, and I often overlook." 

Would he do it again? He wouldn't hesitate. "It only takes up a few hours of your time, on a one-off basis. You might learn a thing or two, but most importantly, the students will get some invaluable feedback from you."

Interested in becoming an EWB Challenge Reviewer? Our next round of reports for review will be released in November. REGISTER HERE.