Phantom Works International
Boeing Airpower Teaming System Advanced Development Program Ground Control Station Technical Lead Engineer (GCS TLE)

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As Technical Lead Engineer at Boeing's Phantom Works International, Emma leads a team of engineers working on one of the most innovative and agile autonomous aircraft development programs in the world – the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. 
The Airpower Teaming System is the first military aircraft to be fully designed, manufactured, and tested in Australia in over 50 years. It’s an uncrewed aircraft with fighter-like qualities and designed to act in a team to protect and project force alongside other uncrewed or crewed assets. 
Emma’s background in Mechatronics Engineering allows her to lead the design, integration and verification of the hardware, software, and computer networks of the Airpower Teaming System Ground Control Station (effectively a cockpit on the ground). In addition to holding the position as the GCS TLE, she has made significant contributions to the aircraft’s Mission System Design, Integration and Verification.

BENEFIT – A description of the benefit of your work to Queensland (max 500 words)

The Airpower Teaming System is the first military aircraft fully designed in Australia in over 50 years. It is unprecedented in that it is Boeing’s largest investment in a new uncrewed aircraft program outside the US. The Queensland Government has committed to partnering with Boeing Australia to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities in the State, announcing that production of the Airpower Teaming System will occur in Wellcamp, Toowoomba. Queensland has played a leading role in the design, development, and build of the platform and it’s likely to result in economic benefits for the state once the final assembly facility in Toowoomba is established, pending orders. This will help create high technology manufacturing jobs in Queensland and, using local Queensland suppliers, create additional capability and capacity in the local defence and aviation industry. 
In 2017, the Airpower Teaming System was conceived to meet a capability need. Since 2019, Emma has been part of the team taking that vision – to design and build a world leading autonomous aircraft here in Australia – and bring it to life.
Initially joining the team, she built a lab environment that allowed for the Mission System software and hardware to be virtually tested without a physical airframe. Establishing various kinds of documentation and procedures, Emma enabled a larger team to reliably reproduce the setup in order to support multiple aircraft components to pass through production – such as what will happen at the Wellcamp facility. After Emma’s involvement in establishing the Mission System, she became part of a team of 3 engineers who designed the initial prototype of the Ground Control Station – the team which she now leads.
The last time a military aircraft was designed here in Australia, women weren't yet allowed to serve in the Air Force. Fast forward to today, and Emma’s job sees her and her team working with senior Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) officers, making key decisions about the design of the next high performance aircraft that will help protect the nation. 
The Airpower Teaming System is showing the world that a diverse, inclusive and capable team of Australian engineers can achieve innovative and agile solutions to support Boeing’s customers and advance the aviation industry; challenging the way things have been done for generations.
This program’s success has delivered more jobs for people studying and graduating STEM fields in Queensland, with Boeing taking on a number of new summer intern and graduate positions each year. Emma has been fortunate to work alongside a number of women at Boeing, attracting them into Brisbane-based Engineering teams. She is incredibly excited to see young women studying STEM degrees in Queensland. To have the opportunity to bring them into her team, to work on an incredible piece of global history, and offer a world leading project to retain STEM talent here in Queensland.

ROLE MODEL – Why do you think you are a good role model for women and girls aspiring to work in STEM? (max 500 words)

By being honest about her journey – the ups, downs and challenges that she has faced, in addition to the successes she’s been a part of – Emma believes she can help women of any age who are considering a career in STEM believe that if she can do it, with hard work and dedication they can too.
When Emma was at school she didn't love math, and so didn’t pursue excellence within the subject. Not knowing where she pictured herself in the future, she knew she had a strong performing arts background. Her story is one of a young girl who loved flying on a trapeze and could play the piano, transforming into someone who loves making high performance autonomous aircraft fly. Emma wants other young women to know that there is no one 'mould' they need to fit in order to become an engineer - that there are other women like them who love gymnastics, horse riding, and performing arts, who are also amazing engineers.
While engineering in Australia remains numerically a male dominated industry, Emma feels it's important for young women to have the opportunity to meet and engage with other like-minded women to hear their unique stories. She believes interactions and conversations between women considering a STEM pathway is vitally important; from recently graduated engineers, women in their early careers, through to those who have dedicated a lifetime to the field.
Emma greatly enjoyed having the opportunity to share her story with other young women; from guest lecturing at the university where she studied (The University of Queensland); partaking in numerous STEM-based activities as part of The Boeing Company; being personally requested to bring her experiences to all-girls schools and inviting Boeing along her journey with her; through to her current role as a STEM Ambassador on the 'UNIQYou' program in Queensland.
Holding a particular passion for high school based STEM programs, she believes this is the cohort that forms the foundation of the Australian STEM future. By continuing to volunteer for several STEM initiatives, she hopes that she may inspire young women to believe that no matter their background, or what they are told 'they are good at', they can aspire toward a career in STEM.
Emma hopes that one day, she will see more women alongside her presenting to senior RAAF officers about new and exciting technologies being developed here in Queensland, working alongside more women who are designing, building, testing and flying world leading aircraft. She’s hopeful that she will see more women proudly flying the flag for what Australian engineers can achieve, no matter what their backstory is, like her going from flying on a trapeze to helping design a world-first autonomous aircraft. Anything is possible.

ENGAGEMENT – Describe any STEM promotion or engagement activities that you have undertaken, including both scientific and non-scientific audiences, particularly with women and girls (maximum 500 words)

After graduating from The University of Queensland (UQ), her first STEM activity was to provide a guest lecture to an engineering cohort at UQ. The lecture centred on her journey, from graduating university to securing a graduate engineering role at Boeing Defence Australia. She focused on the interview process as she found it, and highlighted key differences between studying engineering and working in the field. The lecture was well received and Emma was invited back for several consecutive years.
In addition to guest lecturing, she also joined the Boeing STEM volunteer community. At numerous times throughout each year, she has volunteered to participate in a variety of activities across South East Queensland. The activities have included facility tours and mock-interviews for university students, participating in Spark Engineering Camp, and volunteering to talk to school students about her career.
Emma is passionate about programs that reach and inspire young ladies in high school, to inform them about the countless opportunities a STEM career may provide. At one point in her career she met a local high school teacher, who taught STEM at an all-girls high school. Emma supported the teacher in establishing a 'careers-afternoon' for the young women she taught. Emma successfully managed to gain the support of Boeing to participate in the activity, including setting up a mock-deployment of the Boeing program Emma worked on, in an environment which young adults could not only understand but enjoy. The successful event was repeated over consecutive years. When the teacher moved on to another school, she took the program with her and continued its development. Over time, Emma managed to gain additional support from Boeing to take a small cohort of other young female engineers with her to the school so that the students could gain access to multiple diverse women.
Currently, Emma participates in a program called 'UNIQ You'. This 12-month program offers individually-tailored career advice and mentoring for young women considering/currently studying STEM in Queensland high schools. For schools partnering with the program, students take a brief quiz and are paired with like-minded women who have made significant accomplishments and progress while working in a STEM career. Once paired with a young woman, Emma endeavours to provide insights into opportunities which they might not have considered previously and advise them on how to hopefully turn those opportunities into successful and fulfilling careers. Emma holds the belief that one day she will see more women sitting alongside her as technical lead engineers, making key decisions in detailed design reviews on world-first technologies.
The entirety of Emma’s STEM-based activities have been extra-curricular and required her to volunteer her time and resources.