Danielle wasn’t sure how to turn her interest in both Engineering and Law into a career. Through the flexibility of her University of Sydney degrees, she’s now carving her own path as a leader in impactful technology.
Danielle Haj-Moussa's earliest memories are of helping her father, an electrician, in the garage of their south-west Sydney home.
“I would play with zip ties and wires – and was fixing printers and phones when I was eight,” Danielle says. “I was also known in my family for heated discussions about politics.”
Danielle knew that she wanted to study areas that somehow touched both of her childhood passions. She had also seen her uncle’s graduation photos at the University of Sydney and how happy her grandparents were and thought ‘Wow, I want to go there too’.”
“I’m glad I had the courage to apply,” Danielle says. “I tell younger people now, ‘Just apply. You have a lot more potential and experience than you realise’.”
Danielle found she enjoyed activating two different ways of thinking. “I love switching contexts, from building a robot to dissecting legal judgments – that's how I thrive.
“But Engineering and Law are so different, I would ask myself how they could intersect. I was confused because typically when you study a degree, you think there’ll be a clear pathway.”
“These opportunities helped me to figure out different career pathways that were available and what I enjoyed doing most. For example, my technical engineering internships taught me that I like bigger picture, high-level problem-solving.”
For Danielle, the turning point came at the end of third year, when she met students who shared her interests. They decided to launch their own non-profit, Tech for Social Good, with the aim of empowering the next generation of tech leaders.
“We started a community passionate about the intersection between social impact and technology and we created events and opportunities for students who shared the same passion as us and were asking the same questions,” she says.
Now, Danielle is a leader in impact-driven technology, helping bring to life innovations that leverage technology for positive societal change. She works as an analyst at venture capital firm, Main Sequence, with a focus on commercialising deep-tech research – while finishing her Law degree and running Tech for Social Good. She has also recently attended LawWithoutWalls in Switzerland, sponsored by law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, with a Law School travel grant.
“It was a difficult decision, not to take a traditional career pathway,” she says. “But I wanted my career to reflect what I enjoy and to create impact through everything I do.
“I'd like to do my part to ensure that Australia’s transition to a tech-driven economy is inclusive – and that areas like south-west Sydney where I grew up, rural and Indigenous communities, are part of that change”.