Celine Turangi

Celine Turangi

Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Master of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering

Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakata, Samoan

Orthopaedic surgeons rely on bone cutting tools – also known as osteotomes – to do their work but wear and tear can affect the tool’s sharpness. For her Master of Engineering research, AUT engineering student Celine Turangi explored how to maintain the sharpness of osteotomes.

“With a sharper tool, patient recovery time and post-surgical infections could be reduced, providing overall post-operative wellbeing for the patient. My research focused on determining whether loss of sharpness and wear of the cutting edge of an osteotome could be reduced by using a hard surface coating, and whether the findings of my research could be incorporated into a new design for the osteotome to eliminate such issues.

“I was working with the AUT BioDesign Lab for my research to analyse the cutting edge of the osteotome and to develop a new conceptual design for the tool. I enjoyed being able to indirectly contribute to people’s health and wellbeing through my research.”

Celine’s master’s degree research was supervised by Associate Professor David White and Chris Whittington from the AUT BioDesign Lab, which is part of AUT’s School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences. Now enrolled in a PhD, Celine is broadening her experience by pursuing a doctoral degree in engineering materials.

The right choice
She has always enjoyed maths, Celine says.

“When it was time to decide what to study at university, I applied for a lot of subjects but ultimately chose engineering because engineering involved huge amounts of maths work and maths was the subject I enjoyed the most.

“I initially applied for a lot of subjects and had the choice to study at AUT and other universities. Ultimately, I chose AUT because it was one of the fastest growing universities in New Zealand and their mechanical engineering degree was internationally recognised. To this day, I think it was one of the best decisions I have made for my career.”

In fact, Celine enjoyed her Bachelor of Engineering Technology so much that she decided to return to AUT for postgraduate study and enrolled in a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering.

“I really enjoyed my undergraduate studies and I wanted to further my learning and boost my future career by pursuing a master’s degree. There is also a lack of both Māori and Pacific women in the engineering field, especially postgraduate studies, so being one of the few to be given such an opportunity it was an easy choice to make.”

A good balance
Celine says she would highly recommend AUT’s engineering programmes to others.

“The engineering programmes at AUT are well-balanced – you learn a lot of theory but also get to put that theory into practice by partaking in labs and some practical workshops. I particularly enjoyed the engineering design courses.

“As part of the Bachelor of Engineering Technology you also need to complete 600 hours of practical engineering work before you can graduate, which really helps to put the theory you’ve learnt into practical, real-life situations.”

She has enjoyed the AUT university life and the people she met along the way, says Celine who expects to finish her PhD in 2022.

“All the people I’ve encountered over the years – the academic staff, my classmates and my colleagues – were so kind and helpful. AUT really does care about its students and staff, and I think the culture really reflects that.”

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