One look at campus and Rowan’s mind was made up
WATCHING his brother having a ball at university was all the inspiration Rowan Marsh needed to enrol in a degree himself.
University of Southern Queensland's (USQ) Toowoomba campus was an easy choice for this Warwick lad who wanted the flexibility of being close to home, and access to one of the state's best tertiary institutions.
"(My brother) seemed to be having a good time," he says with a laugh. "It just seemed like the best choice. It was close to family, and I knew people who went to USQ and I could see that they enjoyed it."
Although he was born in Toowoomba, Marsh had never lived there.
At Warwick State High School he had studied physics, chemistry and maths, and developed a talent and passion for the latter. Unsure of which engineering degree to apply for ("there wasn't a lot of people around who could tell me exactly what engineers did"), he came to USQ and asked for advice.
"I knew it would be in the engineering field, but I just wasn't sure which engineering course," Marsh says. "They recommended I start with civil engineering just to get a feel for it."
Marsh was into his second year of a civil engineering degree at USQ when a personal situation caused him to leave the course.
"I had always wanted to study [again], so I started looking at the disciplines," he says of his return to USQ.
Marsh is now studying for a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (later expanding to a dual degree with a Bachelor of Science) and says it was an "easy transition". At first he studied remotely from Warwick, before returning to live on campus.
"It was like I'd never really left," he said. "I am still one of the younger students, as there is a large cohort of people in their mid-20s, but I found [I] mentor the younger students in a way, because you know exactly where they're at, and you've got more of a feel for it."
Marsh is currently studying part-time and recently scored a job with an engineering company in Toowoomba. "It's really cool and really fun," he says. "I'm happy about that."
The plan is to complete his dual degrees by the end of 2019, which will require a return to full-time study next year. He is currently doing his Honours on the engineering side of the degree, for which Marsh will complete a thesis on a chosen topic.
"It's pretty tricky picking a thesis, but I did my research methodology - a course you do before you do your thesis - a little while ago and did that on developing power storage systems for developing countries," he says.
"This report investigates the usage of cheap and readily available materials in connection with power storage systems. It is based around Madagascar but (can be applied) across multiple countries in similar situations; that situation being, a large portion of their power storage is inefficient if not cared for correctly and expensive which can leave many families in situations where they will likely be without power."
When he completes his studies next year Marsh wants to gain real world experience in the workforce, but remains very open to the possibility of completing post-graduate studies at USQ.
With USQ Open Days coming up in August and September across the three campuses Marsh encouraged prospective students to make the most of the opportunity.
"I went to a few Open Days and they're very good," he says.
"I made up my mind [where to study] when I came here to USQ and had a look around. The best advice is to not be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions, and the only way to understand is to ask."
USQ Open Days are on August 19 in Toowoomba, September 1 in Ipswich, and September 7 in Springfield.
For more information, head here.