Joanne D Watson (née Webster) graduated in 1995 in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics from Strathclyde. She is currently a Communications Engineer in the Royal Air Force
After leaving Strathclyde, I joined the RAF in Feb 1996 and after completing Initial Officer training at the RAF College Cranwell, I was posted to the Air Warfare Centre to teach electronic warfare. I then completed a tour on the RAF's deployable communications unit, before moving in to the fixed communications environment looking after the telecoms and IT networks at RAF Brize Norton. I subsequently completed two years at HQ Strike Command, writing policy for the RAF telecommunications and formal messaging services. After that, I returned to RAF Cranwell to mentor the students undertaking engineer officer ab initio training before being posted into my current role in the Defence Communication Services Agency (DCSA)
I am currently a Squadron Leader in DCSA working in the Department of the Chief Technology Officer. The role of this area is to investigate new technologies that might be advantageous to the MoD communications systems (mainly in terms of monitoring and securing) and to supervise trials to evaluate their usefulness and, if appropriate, bring them into service.
In the RAF you never know what challenges the next job may bring. I have been working with European partners to show the interoperability of comms equipment, deploying equipment in 'field' conditions and generally reacting to what ever challenge comes my way. In addition, seeing people progress through the training environment when you are their line manager and seeing them develop their skills and leadership is extremely satisfying.
Physics fascinated me at school and I was keen to take the subject one step further. I chose laser physics in particular because it was innovative and unusual. I appreciated the friendships I made at Strathclyde and I still keep in touch with people I met there. My degree was of particular use during my first role in the RAF where I was teaching directed energy weapons and non-lethal weapons. I was also teaching new technologies that utilised a number of the subjects I covered at Strathclyde.
I have recently been promoted in the RAF and have aspirations to make the next rank up. Away from work, I have taken up the sport of rally co-driving and compete in the British Historic Rally Championship in a historic mini cooper S which you can see in the above picture.