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WIA's 2020 Initiative, Inspiration, Impact Award Winner

Press Release From: Women in Aerospace (WIA)
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2020

Emily Smith, Salt Lake City, UT, is recognized for her excellence and drive of leading edge defense technology to new heights, providing protection to our airborne armed forces.
Emily Smith serves as a Lead Software Engineer at L3Harris Technologies in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a recognized expert in the field of Airborne Electronic Warfare, whose insights and leadership skills have led to the realization of ambitions technical goals for the United States Navy and other L3Harris customers. She is a shining example of professionalism and excellence for women in engineering for not only her professional success, but also for her unique personal journey as a young mother that put herself through University. This has made her a better teammate, leader, mentor, and engineer, as well as solidified her commitment to personal growth.

Since initially joining L3Harris as part of a co-op in 2012, Ms. Smith proved herself to play an instrumental role to the company, as well as to her surrounding community. A few of her technical accomplishments include serving as the software architect and leader for NavAir’s Next Generation Jammer Demonstration of Existing Technologies (DET) program; serving as the electronic warfare software architecture subject matter expert for Discovery and Invention (DNI), proof of concept prototype for the Office of Naval Research, culminating in a flight test at China Lake in 2018; and succeeding in software process improvement with reusable software baselines that shortened the learning curve for engineers moving between projects.

In addition to her technical achievements, Ms. Smith also managed a group of software and several co-op engineers, who she always encouraged continuing education to. She personally mentored the female engineers in her group, while she continued to build her network and find female engineers in leadership positions that were willing to offer advice and support. Recognizing how important communication is in leadership, Ms. Smith organized a software lead council that met weekly to collaborate, share approaches to common problems, and provide support for each other, as well as created a mentorship program that accelerated the onboarding of new engineers within the company.

Ms. Smith grew up with the notion that math and sciences were not something girls needed to learn in Monument Valley, Utah, a very remote location on the Navajo Reservation. It wasn’t until she was working as a young mother at a mortgage servicing company, that she discovered her love for computer programming. Rather than being deterred by her late start, she felt challenged and inspired to achieve her dream of becoming an engineer, discovering that she loved math and the technical fields. While working part-time during the school year, full-time in the summer, and raising her two boys, she was able to graduate with honors from Weber State University.

In addition to her professional contributions at L3Harris, Ms. Smith is very active as a chapter director for the Association for Old Crows and in the Society of Women Engineers. She routinely volunteers in local schools to help encourage girls and young women to explore work in STEM fields where they may find their passion as she did.

Women in Aerospace could not be more pleased to acknowledge Ms. Emily Smith as the 
2020 Initiative, Inspiration, Impact Award recipient.

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