A love of taking on new challenges led Sandra to study a Master of Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Murdoch, with an aim to transform lives back home in Nigeria.
Originally from Nigeria, the choice to study at Murdoch University in Perth was the next logical step for Australia Awards student Sandra Sobok.
"I've always loved taking on challenges and learning new things.
"I have a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering and worked in the power sector before coming to study at Murdoch.
"I saw firsthand the energy poverty experienced in my country. About half of my country’s population do not have access to national grid electricity. This motivated me to explore other ways of meeting energy needs off grid using abundant local resources such as sun and wind."
Murdoch University has been at the forefront of energy teaching and research since 1975 and is proud to offer students like Sandra the most comprehensive program in renewable energy within Australia.
"I chose Murdoch as it is one of the very few Australian Universities with a renewable energy course at master's level.
"Also, about half of the electricity generated in Western Australian is off-grid. This electrification method could benefit my country."
From carbon pricing to greenhouse gas reporting
Aimed at providing the background knowledge needed to create a sustainable future for our planet, Murdoch's Master of Renewable and Sustainable Energy course includes advanced training in renewable and sustainable energy systems, sustainable energy policy and development, energy efficiency and carbon management.
Initially hoping to simply learn how to generate electricity from renewable sources and help improve the energy supply in her home country, Sandra was pleasantly surprised to learn about other aspects of renewable energy as part of her degree.
"I also learned about energy policy and how it differs from other policies, the role of carbon pricing, the relationship between energy and climate, greenhouse gas reporting and life cycle assessment, plus a whole lot more."
Developed in conjunction with consultants in the energy and carbon industry, with additional units added in response to industry demands and developments, the course enables students like Sandra to graduate career ready.
"My study at Murdoch will equip me to understand energy needs, how to increase energy efficiency in buildings and industrial processes leading to an increase in profit margins and cost savings for businesses as well as reducing their carbon footprint.
"I'll also be able to assess energy problems, carry out energy policy analysis and provide viable recommendations."
Thriving in Murdoch's all-inclusive culture
Moving overseas is a big step for any student and for Sandra it was no different. Luckily, she was able to rely on Murdoch's support services which were instrumental in helping Sandra settle in to her new home.
"Orientation was very helpful as I met many other international students and started building useful networks. The Student Advisors are always available to help answer questions and give useful advice.
"I have enjoyed my Murdoch experience so much. Both academic and non-academic staff are very helpful to all students. Our lecturers try to ensure we understand what we are being taught and can apply it to real life scenarios after graduation. They are always ready to respond to our enquiries both in class and online.
"Murdoch also has an ‘all-inclusive’ culture so that no student feels sidelined or unimportant."
Sandra also found it easy to integrate into the Perth landscape, in a large part thanks to its friendly people.
"Perth, unlike other cities, is less-congested with lots of lovely people. Virtually everyone is nice, kind and helpful even if you are meeting them for the first time."
"Perth is also a peaceful and safe place."
Bringing, safe, clean and affordable energy back home
Once she's graduated, Sandra plans on bringing her newfound knowledge back home to Nigeria.
"I hope to use my knowledge and skills to help provide safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy in my country."
For those considering whether to choose Murdoch, she has this piece of advice:
"Stop thinking… Do it!
"Murdoch University is teaching me to 'free my think' and smash my limits, in addition to providing me with access to numerous learning resources both on campus and online, including access to research publications, online libraries, and any learning material I require.
"Murdoch is the right institution to learn and achieve heights you’d never imagined."