Award-winning engineer and elite athlete’s inspiring career journey

Margaret Gayen

Competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games during the third year of her university degree was a defining moment for Margaret Gayen (Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Sports) (Honours), 2015).

“I was just 20 years old when I competed in the Commonwealth Games, in the long jump and the 4x100m relay,” Margaret said.

“There was one moment during the final round of the long jump when 45,000 people in that stadium were clapping just for me. I ended up finishing sixth, which was beyond anything I had expected, and I came away inspired to see what else I could achieve.”

Margaret began her engineering career at Ellex Medical in 2016, designing and building medical laser systems for treating eye diseases. In 2019, she joined GPA Engineering, a heavy industry design consultancy, where she helps design and manage mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy projects.

The award-winning engineer and elite athlete is fortunate to have already experienced a string of career highlights in such a brief period of time.

“Another defining moment in my life was presenting with my colleague and friend Carina Nixon at the Australian Pipeline and Gas Association (APGA) Convention in 2022.”

Margaret Gayen

“We shared stories of gender bias, discrimination, and harassment that we had collected from the industry. We were unsure how the topic would be received, but we received a standing ovation, and we are seeing ongoing positive effects from speaking up. I do believe we’ve made a difference,” said Margaret.

Success continued in 2022 with Margaret being recognised with two awards for her tireless efforts in future fuels, renewable energy, and gender equality.

“A career highlight so far is being awarded South Australian Young Professional Engineer of the Year from Engineers Australia, and the Young Energy Professional Development Award from the Australian Institute of Energy (SA).”

Margaret is passionate about being active and continually learning. She has been a committee member with the Adelaide University Sport Blues Committee for the last three years.

“I finished up with the committee at the end of 2022, but I’m still connected to Adelaide Uni doing ad hoc appearances as a guest speaker about engineering, or women in sport, or as a judge at Ingenuity, for example.”

When asked where she sees herself in the next five to 10 years, Margaret said, “I hope I can continue to contribute to a better world – whether through renewable energy or equality advocacy, or something else I am yet to find.

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