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Innovating technical solutions for complex problems in Defence & Resources sectors through a systems engineering framework

Are you eligible for Breaking Barriers Category:

SUMMARY

I advance the technology readiness level of innovations that transform industry & military operations to become more responsive and secure. My work applies knowledge across software, power, mechanical, control, data and communications engineering, to develop new integrated products. These products enable outcomes such as on-demand visibility of supply chains and inventory, condition-based maintenance intelligence for assets, and safety optimisation for high hazard operations. Part of my work is to investigate capabilities from local and global suppliers, such as IoT sensors, satellite platforms, electronics components, data interpretation algorithms, enterprise resource management and cyber security consulting, and integrate into the final product. Managing the complexity of these projects is underpinned by the application of a systems engineering framework. To incorporate into a system, I systematically define needs and concepts of operations, iteratively develop and reflect on designs, test implemented modules, consider technical risks, and ensure traceability in verifying all requirements to produce a quality innovation. 

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

My work as an engineer in the Defence & Resources sectors, from R&D to on-site plant upgrades, has supported QLD’s critical industries which contribute to our security & energy needs. My projects to build and mature cyber-physical prototypes within the digital supply chain ensure an adaptive, automated logistics arm for the Australian Defence Force, to improve operational availability of its equipment. My projects to optimise operator alarm systems, inspect plant shutdown controls and modernise security network monitoring ensure Shell QGC’s gas operations in regional QLD perform safely and reliably. Through my work championing Digital Transformation I guided Queensland power, chemicals and resource businesses through energy management, process safety, cyber security and asset performance solutions. Following the systems engineering approach, alongside implementing engineering projects and services, I was able to translate how emerging technologies meet the business needs of Queensland's critical sectors.

My work highlights the potential of Australian-grown innovations to further mark QLD as a technology hub. I joined as the third employee of my current company which is an Australian veteran-owned technology group. From our Brisbane head-office, my work to build and integrate systems to develop products that solve real world problems helps grow a sustainable business in QLD. I am now involved in a follow-up project to progress our technology concept demonstrator to a solution ready for the field, and after that, production roll-out. The company has grown dramatically to keep apace with our breadth of projects, and we’ve recently welcomed a university intern whom I mentored to become a permanent engineering team member. Previously in my career I have worked for multinationals in the energy and industrial automation spaces, both with European head offices. Now I ‘m proud to work for a company with QLD focused R&D, who collaborate with other QLD and wider Australian best-in-class small to medium enterprises. Systems engineering is about linking real-world needs to tested outcomes, and progressing designs and development in a disciplined manner to ensure integrated teams overcome project complexity. For me and others, QLD can offer an amazing lifestyle, and stimulating work at a sustainable technology-focused business. 

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

I am a good role model for women and girls aspiring to work in STEM as:

  1. I can shine light on the relatively unknown specialisation of Systems Engineering from an Electrical Engineering background. 

    Systems Engineering is a really exciting field for girls and women to be a part of, since it involves big-picture, holistic solutions to complex problems within society, and, as an interdisciplinary engineering field, requires teamwork. Systems engineers design and optimise whole systems, including improving productivity, quality, safety, and efficiency of processes and devices across sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, defence, energy and even space! At the concept stage, client needs and alternative technologies are workshopped, progressing to detailed engineering designs and implementation stages, while maintaining a user level perspective to ensure the delivered system satisfies their requirements. As a systems engineer you interface between customers, suppliers, operations and many specialty engineers, and with an electrical background, bring your own technical strength across control, power, and computer systems to the team. 

  2. I’m approachable, articulate and passionate about female development.

    My professional and personal experience has given me the opportunity to build relationships with many project stakeholders and within my community. My work has required me to elicit feedback and communicate technical content to various audiences including technicians, engineers, project managers, business leaders and conference attendees. I have developed skills to articulate effectively in various environments, at varying levels of detail and build rapport. As a volunteer soccer coach and captain I have successfully developed the player knowledge of primary/ high school girls and women, with positive recognition displayed in retention of junior players in my team and Player’s Player/ Club Women awards. I’m keen to normalise being a women footballer and an engineer to my team members. I have also been approached by women in my engineering network, including a colleague’s colleague and university acquaintance, seeking my career advice, and am eager to help and give back. 
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)

University:

  1. Founder of TWEET - The Women in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications; Member Women in Engineering (WIE) Student Leadership team: In my final undergraduate year I teamed up with my friend Varuni to launch TWEET (we ruled out WEE - Women in Electrical Engineering!). We set up the society (its constitution, funding and social pages), ran networking events, and held the first AGM.  This society is still running today and enables female engineers across year groups to support each other to succeed. I additionally became involved with the new Faculty WIE Student Leadership team to meet, discuss and support promotional activities across all engineering schools. 
  2. Engineering student representative at UNSW Open Days: demonstrated technology applications (including playing Mario Kart via wearable heart rate monitors!), ran tours and spoke to high school students and parents. 
  3. Vice President of ELSOC - Electrical Society: In my 3rd year, I initiated a change to our society BBQs to include the provision of ciders and vegetarian/ halal options. Given our diverse membership, we needed to consider needs beyond the meat-eating, beer-drinking male engineer. The ciders were very popular with the female engineers increasing their engagement.
  4. Creator of ELSOC’s Guide to LaTeX: In collaboration with my peer Matt, we wrote a guide and ran workshops for students to learn LaTeX, which is a software used for producing technical documents. The manual is still available to students today.

  5. Graduate:
  6. Coordinator of several indigenous work experience weeks at my workplace (ABB): As a part of a volunteer team, I organised the event calendar, assisted colleagues to present, and supervised off-site visits (the Cadbury factory at Ringwood was a highlight!).
  7. Assistant creator of masterclass ‘ Girls in STEM: making it happen!’: As part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, I assisted Power of Engineering (PoE) founder Jillian to organise and present a workshop to over 30 attendees on how to engage girls in STEM in practical ways. PoE now has reached over 10,000+ students across Australia through its programs. 
  8. Author of Foundation of Young Australians’ (FYA) online article: ‘Reasons you should give engineering a second thought (I’m talking to you ladies)’  aimed to help re-orientate and personalise what an engineer is, and dispel the voice that females can’t be engineers, to all of FYA’s readers.

  9. Professional:
  10. Panellist for my high school’s Future in Focus program: I created a video about my work and participated in a Q&A with students alongside two technology professionals.
  11. Girls’ soccer coach; Captain women’s team: I have talked openly about being a female engineer to those I’ve played with and coached (same girls from U10s as MiniRoos to now as U13s junior league), to role model and normalise being a female STEM professional.
  12. Presenter/ representative at various industry events: I have presented at conferences, spoken on videos available publically, and engaged attendees as an exhibitor, to improve understanding of my company’s engineering & technology solutions.
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