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‘I’m really a nerd at heart.’
From North-West NSW, Meagan Dampney’s interest in engineering began when she was just 14 years old. Binging on documentaries about building boats and designing aircraft led her to taking on work experience in the field. These experiences reinforced what she already knew – this was what she wanted as a career.
For Meagan, deciding to do an engineering degree was a no-brainer, saying ‘it would tap into my interest and excite my passion for the STEM subjects and problem-solving.

Local Foundation:
CEF Namoi

Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering

University of New South Wales

Year of Study:
1st year

Other support:
Audi Foundation – CEF Scholarship


How important was receiving a grant from CEF Namoi to you?
Receiving the grant from CEF Namoi gave me the confidence that I was doing something right. Knowing that other people from my community believed this was something I could achieve was very encouraging.

How important is it for you to stay connected with the CEF family and help other rural and regional school-leavers?
It is very important to stay connected with CEF as they can let you know about different scholarships and help you make industry connections.

Why should other students contact CEF?
There is so much a foundation like this has to offer. Not only are they helping kids like us afford higher education, but they help us find opportunities, meet like-minded people and give us a sense of community as we leave the one we know. Knowing that there is support there from people who have gone through these stresses or even the opportunity to meet others who can help you get to where you want to go is extremely beneficial.

I think coming from a small community, you always seem to know someone who knows someone who does the thing you enjoy.


Meagan is studying a Bachelor of Mechatronics at the University of New South Wales. Her desire to learn and understand all things engineering made it easy to select her as an Audi Foundation – CEF Scholarship recipient for 2021. She recently attended a showroom tour and afternoon tea for past and current scholarship recipients at the Audi head office in Sydney. With a grin from ear to ear from the moment she walked in the door, Meagan knew she was in the right place, and so did we.

How has your Audi Foundation scholarship helped during your first year of study?
Receiving this scholarship has taken a huge financial weight off my shoulders. As I had to relocate for university, I have to pay for accommodation and it also allows me to spend more time on my studies, instead of working.

What opportunities have been opened up for you as result of your scholarship?
I had the opportunity to meet the director of the Sunswift Racing team. Sunswift is a project through UNSW that builds and races solar cars.

Audi generously donated an A7 to the team, and when they found out I was interested in the project helped me get in contact with the right people. As I am a first-year, I cannot be involved in the project yet, but hopefully next year I can get involved.

Mechatronic engineers create smart machines aware of their surroundings and able to make decisions. This degree intertwines mechanical engineering, control engineering and software development. They work across all aspects of smart machines – from design and testing through to manufacture in a variety of industries. 


Like so many young women, to Meagan engineering always seemed like a ‘boys career,’ but luckily the engineers she has spoken to and done work experience with have been really encouraging and helpful. For her, one of the best ways to get into this field dominated by men, was to just get out and learn the things that she was interested in. At the end of the day she says, ‘if you enjoy something do more of it, it shows everyone you are willing to put in the time and effort.’

What do you love about mechatronics engineering?
I love the practicality of my course. I find it extremely satisfying to get a problem and be able to see and hold my solutions.

I find there is an element of creativity in engineering. While all the equations and math are either right or wrong, how you go about your solution can vary from person to person, always leaving room for improvement or what drives my parents insane, tinkering!

The idea of being able to learn what you enjoy and then make money
off it I find pretty cool.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Now that is a very big question. It changes a lot, but I just want to make things go fast.

Are you a morning or night person?
Morning, but only after coffee

Favourite movie?

Last book you read?
All the Light we Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

Fantasy study group?
Carol Shelby, Mary Jackson, Alan Turing, Michael Hedges,
Samuel Beckett

How would you spend your last $10?
A train ticket

Audi Foundation has been a valued, principal partner of CEF since 2017. During this time, 28 Audi Foundation – CEF Scholarships have been awarded to students studying in STEM related fields, totalling an incredible $105,000 in direct financial support to rural and regional youth.


Author Nicole

CEF Engagement & Development

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