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Nicole Brunner

from Student Pilot to Manufacturing Engineer
I design procedures, systems and tools needed to assemble an aircraft.
Aviation, Defence and Public Safety, Manufacturing
Job Level
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Ask me about

  • Why a cadetship is a great way to gain industry experience
  • How we use 3D printing to find solutions

About me

  • Regional Background

I have always had an interest in aerospace and aviation.

When I graduated high school, my focus was on becoming a pilot in the Australian Defence Force. Unfortunately, this pathway wasn’t meant to be so I starting looking into engineering.

I enrolled to study Mechanical Engineering at QUT in 2014, and made the move from my home-town of Toowoomba, to Brisbane. 

After two years of full-time study, I was offered a Cadetship back in Toowoomba at mining/manufacturing company. I continued my studies part-time, online at UniSQ, while working full-time. This was a great way to study and gain industry experience.

Upon completing my degree, I continued on with my first employer as a Graduate Engineer. I worked there for a total of 6.5 years, up until I started at Boeing in mid-2022. Now here I am, working as an engineer in the industry I’ve always strived to be a part of.

About my role

  • Focused
  • Personable
  • Relaxed
  • Reliable

Manufacturing Engineers are responsible for deciding the best way to build a complete aircraft. They start with a design that’s made up of multiple components, then come up with a plan on how to put it all together in a way that’s efficient, safe and cost effective. This involves step-by-step assembly instructions, and deciding what equipment and tools are needed.

It is important to support and communicate with different people, including other engineering teams, suppliers (where and who to get parts from), and assembly workers who are putting the parts together. 

A big part of engineering is about solving problems and coming up with a better way to do things, which can mean looking into interesting, new technologies and innovations, like 3D printing for example.

Students Book Here Educators Book Here


  • High School Certificate
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – Mechanical


  • Aerospace Systems
  • Digital Design/Information Technology
  • Engineering/Engineering Skills
  • Mathematical Methods (Maths B)
  • Physics
  • Specialist Mathematics (Maths C)


  • UniSQ Project Showcase 2019 – Best Poster
  • Bachelor Degree with First Class Honours
  • UniSQ Rodney Rookwood Memorial Prize


  • Gym
  • Reading
  • Seeing family and friends


  • 2 Dog

15 year old me!!

“Don't let set-backs or unexpected changes deter you; learn and grow from them.”

My career journey

Curious to know how I got here? Here’s a snapshot of my career pathway.
  1. Pursued career as defence force pilot
  2. Didn’t work out so started Mechanical Engineering degree in Brisbane
  3. Started cadetship at mining and manufacturing company in Toowoomba
  4. Completed degree and continued on as a Graduate Engineer.
  5. Started at Boeing, Manufacturing Engineer; first Toowoomba-based employee

My employer

Behind every Boeing product and platform is a person using critical and creative thinking to solve complex problems and produce future aerospace products that defy gravity, break the speed of sound and allow Boeing to live out its mission to connect, protect and explore our world. Our teams span the areas of defence, space, commercial products and technologies. At Boeing, you could play a hand in taking products from inception and design to delivery and beyond, and solve challenges that enable all of humanity to take flight.