17 December 2009

When Alice Bullock walks across the graduation stage tomorrow, she will be following in the footsteps of two generations before her.

Her father, Scott Bullock, is a consulting mechanical engineer with extensive international experience, while her grandfather, Emeritus Professor Keith Bullock, is a former Dean of UQ Engineering.

Ms Bullock has swayed slightly from the family tradition, however, opting to study chemical engineering as opposed to mechanical.

“My best subjects in high school were maths and science, and I see a career in chemical engineering as a way to apply those skills in a practical way,” she said.

Professor Bullock was the first person to undertake a PhD in Engineering at UQ, graduating in 1957.

He was Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1975 to1982, and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (now the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology) between 1983 and 1988.

“It’s quite funny to think some of the Professors that I had were hired by my Grandad,” Ms Bullock said.

“It was nice to meet people around uni who knew my family; they sort of knew a bit about me before we’d even met.”

An advocate for increasing the number of women in engineering, Professor Bullock said he was delighted to see his eldest grandchild entering the profession.

Since his early retirement from UQ in 1991, he has operated his own business – Transport Energy Systems – to develop and evaluate his innovative technology for hybrid vehicles.

“He has developed a hybrid engine system that involves storing energy from braking for subsequent use in acceleration and hill climbing,” Ms Bullock said.

“Normally the energy created by braking is wasted, so this regenerative braking system has the potential to improve the efficiency of vehicles significantly, reducing their fuel use and emission output.”

Engineering is not the only field in which the Bullocks have achieved success - Professor Margaret Bullock, Alice’s grandmother, is renowned in the areas of ergonomics and physiotherapy.

She was one of the first two people in Australia to receive a degree in physiotherapy (B Sc App), graduating from UQ in 1955.

In 1974, she became the first Australian to be awarded a PhD in physiotherapy and was Head of UQ’s Department of Physiotherapy for fourteen years, before serving as President of the Academic Board (1988 – 1990).

She was Dean and Head of UQ’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences from 1996 until her retirement in late 1998.

Before finding work as a chemical engineer next year, Ms Bullock plans to take a short break, and also has ambitions of volunteering with her dad for Engineers without Borders someday.

Three UQ graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday, December 18.

• Ms Bullock will graduate at the 11am ceremony, alongside graduates from the schools of Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering.

• Mr Nick Stump, who has more than 40 years of experience in the mining industry both in Australia and abroad, will receive a Doctorate of Engineering honoris causa at this ceremony. Mr Stump was Chief Executive of MIM Holdings Ltd for six years, before retiring in 2001.

• Contributing to carbon capture projects and working overseas are the future career ambitions of Valedictorian Natalie Mogg, who will receive her first-class Honours degree in chemical engineering degree at the 11am ceremony.
Ms Mogg was among the first cohort of UQ students to go on exchange to Imperial College, London, one of Britain’s leading universities.
“It was an amazing experience and one of the best things that I’ve ever decided to do,” she said.
“I enjoyed studying in a different environment, living in such a historical city and being able to catch up with people who I hadn’t seen for over 10 years as well as having the opportunity to meet new people.”
She was also the recipient of the 2009 Andrew Nicholas Liveris Prize, which went towards University fees. Worth $3000, the prize is supported by Dr Andrew Liveris, CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, and recognises outstanding academic achievement, leadership qualities and participation in student activities.
In 2010, Ms Mogg will begin work at the Caltex Lytton refinery and said she hoped to spend the next few years developing as an engineer and gaining onsite experience.

• The 2pm ceremony will feature graduates from the Schools of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering; School of Architecture; and School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering. The guest speaker will be Dr Adrian (Adi) Paterson, Chief Executive of the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

• Ms Janina Drazek, Executive Director, Teaching and Learning Branch, Department of Education and Training will be the guest speaker at the 6pm ceremony, where graduates from the School of Education will receive their degrees.

• Friends and family of graduating students who can’t make it to the UQ ceremonies will be able to watch them live on the web by clicking on either of the following links: Quicktime, or Windows Media Player.

Media: Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723, penny.robinson@uq.edu.au)