A love for problem solving and creativity sparked a career in engineering for Chloe Faulks.

Everyone, meet Chloe Faulks. Chloe is part of our Transitional Technologies and Prototyping (TTP) team working in manufacturing. It’s a multidisciplinary engineering team that develops devices and systems to facilitate research and demonstrate the technologies we design.

We’re working with Chloe and other engineers through our Engineering Community of Practice to develop their capability and build their professional networks.

So what does a career in engineering look like at CSIRO? Well, the answer to that question is about as diverse as our areas of research. That’s why we’re profiling our people to show you all of the possibilities that come with life as an engineer. We caught up with Chloe to hear about her career journey and current work.

Two photos combined. One of Chloe sitting at a computer desk with screens behind her and another of her wearing PPE in a lab environment.
If you’re Chloe Faulks, a day at work as an engineer might look a little like this…

What does a day at work look like for you?

Mechatronics is a mix of mechanical, electrical and software engineering, so day-to-day my work is quite varied. Some days it’s mechanical design and CAD, others it’s electronics and coding.  Recently I’ve also been working with the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN) to fabricate diffraction gratings. We’re using their new NanoScribe tool, which is like a nanoscale 3D printer.

What kinds of research and projects do you work on?

At the moment I’m mainly working on a hyperspectral imager payload for CyanoSat – a satellite that is being developed in collaboration with the University of Adelaide and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS). The aim of CyanoSat is to monitor water quality, in particular to detect cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are the primary cause of a large proportion of harmful algal blooms and pose a major threat to public health and the environment.

We recently worked with Lux to conduct a high-altitude flight trial of the payload. The flight was successful, reaching the stratospheric altitude of 35km and capturing more than 1TB of data.

Other projects I’ve worked on include designing printers for thin film flexible solar cells at the Flexible Electronics Lab, high-precision stage systems for sample handling and X-ray focusing as part of the Maia Mapper XFM, a drowsiness detection headset for the Alertness CRC and VicRoads, and a smart insect trap capable of isolating insects to prevent cross-contamination.

A white circle seen in space with the earth below.
Chloe’s work with the CyanoSat satellite has taken her to new heights.

What attracted you to engineering and CSIRO?

I think I always wanted to be an engineer. I love the combination of problem solving and creativity that goes into making working things.

As for CSIRO, I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time. My final year project as part of my degree was to develop an autopilot system for the Outback UAV Challenge. Through that I was put in touch with the Printed PV team at the Flexible Electronics Lab. Around that time they were looking for a student to integrate their printed solar cells into a model aircraft. I did the vacation studentship program, had a really great time and I’ve been at CSIRO ever since.

When you were 10 years old, what job did you want to have?

Around that time I was fascinated by shipwrecks like the Titanic. I think I wanted to work on the ROVs and the submarines that explore them.

These days, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything else I’d rather be doing. Working towards a satellite is incredibly exciting. If I had to pick something else though, designing roller coasters seems like it would be a lot fun.


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1 comments

  1. An interesting read for a retired 84 year old engineer, about activities not even imagined 60 years go. Good luck Chloe. I wish I could see the changes you will see in your career.

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