Topic: Mechatronics & Robotics

Andrew Gillet

“Don’t stress about what you don’t know.. it’s okay to not know something and it’s liberating to express that and explore it.”

Mechatronics Engineer

Tell us a bit about yourself – What is your current role? What other roles/areas have you worked in?

I’m Andy and I’m currently working as a design engineer in mask product development at ResMed. Before Resmed, I worked as a research engineer for a university where I worked on a gesture controlled prosthetic hand and a shoe insole that measured gait parameters. For a while there, I worked in a start-up developing a locomotive device for virtual reality. Before all that, I was working as a music therapist.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Maybe this is weird, but I honestly don’t think I had any idea what I wanted to be as a child. I remember I wanted to be an inventor because it sounded really cool and fun, but over my teenage years my thoughts of what I wanted to be were always changing. I had no idea what I wanted to be until years out of school and truthfully I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

Were you always destined for a STEM career?

Not at all! I chose an engineering degree because I was good at maths, physics, and engineering studies in high school and I liked solving technical problems, but my passions at the time were far from STEM. While I was doing my engineering degree, I was working as disability support worker and passionately into playing music, both of which I enjoyed so much that I decided to start a business in music therapy. For a long time, I was debating whether to leave the stem path behind as a career and focus on music therapy as I was getting a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of my career and very little satisfaction out of my degree. Over time though, I found I wanted to spend all of my spare time tinkering with electronics and making things – Stem projects ended up becoming my passion.

Eventually, the path of being challenged in a technical way appealed more to me as a career than music therapy, and those two things flipped – STEM became my career, and music/disability support became my passion. I’m glad things worked out the way that they did – had I not explored a different career path, I don’t think I would have been able to appreciate my degree as much as I did and I wouldn’t have had the foresight to understand the benefits of a career in STEM.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Learning from the extremely talented people I work with and being in an environment of constantly solving technical problems. I also love the feeling of being able to hold something in my hand that is the result of thousands of hours of hard work and carefully considered design. I also get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that the final product we create will have a positive impact on people’s lives. Free coffee is great too.

Where / how do you see STEM having the biggest impact in the future?

That’s such a hard question to answer because STEM is such broad field! I think that STEM has the potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems such as reversing climate change, improving renewable energy technology, disease elimination/prevention, improving quality of life for those less fortunate, and increasing humanity’s collective understanding of the world around us.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Surfing, tennis, tinkering with electronics and playing music. More broadly, I really enjoy spending time with my family and people that I care about.

What is something you know now that you wish you could tell your younger self?

Don’t stress about what you don’t know.. it’s okay to not know something and it’s liberating to express that and explore it. Oh, and don’t forget to floss.

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Andrew Gillet

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