School of Civil Engineering

Aayush Sharma’s father was speechless with joy the day his son – in line to be a third-generation fire engineer – was named Most Outstanding Student in Fire Safety Engineering at The University of Queensland.

Growing up in a fire station in New Delhi, India, Aayush (pictured with his father and brother) said the sirens had always intrigued him as a kid, and watching his father and grandfather thrive in India’s bustling fire community, meant he always knew where he belonged.

Now a graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Master of Engineering (Civil and Fire Safety), Aayush is working with Brisbane-based Fire Check Consultants, following in the footsteps of his family role models.

Another multi-generational engineering lineage, the McGrath family also run a long line of accomplished engineers.

Brian McGrath (Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), ’58) studied engineering, as did both his sons, while his wife, Heather McGrath (pictured together below), a UQ science graduate (Bachelor of Science, ’69) is the granddaughter of R.W.H. Hawken, UQ’s founding professor of engineering.

Professor Hawken was on the 1921 committee to determine a new site for The University of Queensland. Settling on St Lucia, the group went on to grow UQ into the world-leading academic institution we know today, with Hawken’s name later becoming synonymous with the UQ engineering precinct as its home base: Hawken Engineering, Building 50.

Recognising the strong commitment to family and civil engineering, the McGrath family offered Aayush the Brian McGrath Bursary in 2019. This $1000 bursary comes from a philanthropic gift made by the Estate of Brian McGrath in 2017 to support a civil engineering student completing their undergraduate thesis.

Aayush tackled a complex research topic, looking at the thermal properties of concrete during fire, and is using the bursary to attend SiF2020 – the 11th International Conference on Structures in Fire, which was postponed to November this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The positive impacts of your generous donation really can be astronomical."

Aayush Sharma’s father was speechless with joy the day his son – in line to be a third-generation fire engineer – was named Most Outstanding Student in Fire Safety Engineering at The University of Queensland.

“I am very grateful to have received the bursary, and to anyone who is considering making a philanthropic gift, you should know the funds can help students turn their dreams into a reality,” said Aayush.

“Receiving this bursary not only provided me with means to help me build my academic knowledge in civil engineering, but it also gave me the encouragement to forge ahead, helping me to achieve great results and enter the workforce with confidence.”

For more information on the Brian McGrath Bursary in Civil Engineering, please visit UQ Scholarships.