This St Aidan's Old Girl is breaking new ground for female field surveyors. One of the first women in Queensland to obtain a land surveying license. Jemma has enjoyed the challenge and as she puts it, "pushed the boundaries".
"In Year 12 I was unsure what career path I might choose... so perhaps it was my geography teachers' travel stories or the geography camps at Byron Bay that led me into a dual degree in Surveying and Information Technology at QUT. I thought it sounded interesting, incorporated my favourite subjects, being maths and geography, and would give me an opportunity to work both outdoors and indoors."
Starting her career in Brisbane working on surveying computer systems, Jemma then moved to Cairns to take a position as a field surveyor. While there she travelled to many parts of Cape York, working out of helicopters and avoiding wild crocodiles. Back behind a desk in Brisbane now, Jemma continues to be heavily involved in the industry and its associations. She was award the Queensland Young Surveyor of the Year award in 2001 and recently became a Young Ambassador for Surveying in Australia. Jemma also recently travelled to Germany to present a paper at the International Federation of Surveying Congress.
"While surveying is traditionally a male dominated profession, there are more and more females now entering surveying and related spatial professions such as mapping and geographic information systems (GIS). The work has been challenging and I have pushed the boundaries. St Aidan's has certainly taught me that determination and career choice has nothing to do with gender.
"I have enjoyed being part of the surveying industry and find, like St Aidan's, there is a great network of people in it. The friendships that I made at St Aidan's have extended throughout the classroom, extra-curricular activities and everything in our high school years, as well as our university and travel days and into our current work and family lives.
"St Aidan's has encouraged us to follow our dreams, whatever they may be."