Regioneering Volunteer - Laura Deaves
BlogRegioneering Volunteer - Laura Deaves

Laura Deaves: Regioneering Volunteer
via the Komatsu’s ‘Live Your Dream’ program


What is your academic/professional background? I studied a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering/Physics at UNSW, graduating at the end of 2018. I was accepted into the Komatsu Graduate Development Program as one of three engineers and am currently working in the Engineering Services department.

What are your hobbies? I’m a big reader. At the moment I am on a massive fantasy kick and cannot get enough of Brandon Sanderson’s novels. When I’m not sitting around for hours on end reading, I can be found tinkering with things at home, hiking, or desperately trying not to fall over while roller-skating.

Who inspires you? Strong women. Not any one woman in particular, but just reading about, hearing about, or even meeting women who have had to go against the status quo and managed to achieve more than anyone expected of them. They have had a massive part in paving the way for my aspirations in life, and I really want to be that kind of inspiration for others one day.

When and how did you get interested in engineering? I think I have always been interested in engineering; I just didn’t know what it really was until the end of high school. Some of my favourite childhood memories are of working in the garage with my father to pull things apart and make them better. To me engineering was the hands-on, problem-solving, version of science which meant it was perfect for me!

When and how did the feeling of getting involved with humanitarian engineering come in your mind? I love learning how everything works and the reasoning behind it and find great joy in being able to share that with others. During my schooling, I always took side jobs as a tutor or a lab demonstrator because I wanted to help others learn to love the subjects that I do. Discovering the concept of humanitarian engineering at university gave me a pathway that I could take to work in engineering, while also being able to bring education to others that haven’t had the opportunity.

When and why did you decide taking actions for humanitarian engineering? This will be the first step on my humanitarian engineering journey, and I wish I had started it sooner! During university I let myself get too caught up in my studies to realise the opportunities I could have taken, so when Komatsu gave us this chance, I jumped on it.

Why did you want to volunteer? Volunteering has been something I have done for most of my life, because I know I have had a privileged life and I want to contribute to making a world where everyone can have the opportunities I had. Volunteering has also been extremely beneficial for myself; I’ve learnt a lot, gained experiences, made good connections and met amazing people.

What do you think is attractive about volunteering with EWB? EWB has their vision of improving the quality of life of disadvantaged communities with education and sustainable engineering, and within this there is so much opportunity to participate in initiatives that use the skills and peak the interests of anyone. It is a well-established organisation, so provides excellent opportunities for those wanting to get into humanitarian engineering.

Why do you think volunteers are important for the projects like you’re executing? Volunteers are extremely important for these school outreach projects because without them, it wouldn’t happen at all. When more people get involved with the programs, a wider area of schools can be targeted, allowing us to reach more students and spread our skills and knowledge.

Why did you decide to volunteer for EWB? EWB’s School Outreach programs involve bringing education to disadvantaged communities, which is exactly what I want to be able to do. It gives me the opportunity to teach the subjects I love and showcase the possible career pathways to students, who might never have thought about STEM, because of a lack of exposure.

What is the one tip you would give to someone who might be volunteering? Don’t wait for the opportunity to start volunteering to present itself, go out and find it.

How can engineers bring a change in society through volunteering? Engineers have the knowledge and problem-solving skills that can be used to develop sustainable societies and delivering this education and resources to disadvantaged communities can enable them to thrive by themselves. An initiative of this size requires a wide range of knowledge and time, and volunteering allows engineers from all factions to come together and work towards achieving this goal.