Kylie Allan – Associate WHS Consultant

Kylie Allen

Kylie Allan is an Associate WHS Consultant with Tetra Tech Coffey in Perth, Western Australia and brings more than 10 years of experience in the Work Health & Safety management market. We spoke to Kylie about empowering and celebrating our brilliant women scientists and how we can encourage those who aspire to work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Why this particular area of science?

I didn’t really discover my love of science until I started university as a mature age student in 2011.  After 18 years in the bank, a late in life career change saw me pivot into science, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health, Safety and Environmental Health in 2014. After my first semester into my degree, I realised I’d found my people!

Mostly I work with indoor environments, such as indoor air quality and undertake mould and moisture assessments. I don’t know why, but I find mould, mycology, bacteria and things like toxicology and diseases infinitely fascinating; the interaction between various things like moisture and mould spores and how they fuel mould growth (or don’t!) is so interesting. I almost feel like a detective sometimes, trying to work out what has caused the situation clients finds themselves facing, as well as how to fix it.

Even indoor air quality can get affected by a myriad of things – whether they be contaminants of concern, or even just temperature issues. It’s interesting being able to use your knowledge of science and all the things that can impact the indoor environment to find solutions for clients.

What has been a career highlight or project for you?

Recently I’ve been working aboard some of the Australian Collins Class submarines, which is a really cool thing to see and experience, and not many people get to do that.

Due to the confidential nature of the project, I’m unable to detail exactly the type of work but I can say it has been fascinating. Delivering work to our Defence clients is a real privilege and I hope I can continue to work in this area, can get onboard any of the newer submarines that will come out of the AUKUS agreement.

My work has also taken me to some interesting locations, from lighthouses on islands and the mainland, up to Kalumburu in the northern part of Western Australia, to the deep insides of multi-storey buildings.

What do you look forward to in the years to come in the scientific field?

I think my field of indoor environments will only grow in importance in the coming years. The experience we’ve all had during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light what we are potentially exposed to in our indoor environments more than ever before.

I hope that women entering my field can feel as supported by their co-workers in what they do as I’ve felt by my co-workers as I’ve navigated my career change into science over the last decade.

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