Andrea Emone

Aerospace engineer, Alinghi RedBull Racing Data Analyst

Dear Andrea, you have a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters in Computational Fluid Dynamics. How did you come to this choice? Have you always had a flair for STEM since you were a child? What did you dream of being "when you would grew up"?

How did I come to this choice? That's a good question because in fact it came after following a regatta that was taking place in Valencia when I was only a kid. It was during the 33rd Americas Cup in in the city where I was born. I was a kid. I was around 10-12 years old when I quickly understood that the boats that were winning the regattas were very influenced by the design. Even more than the athletes that were inside, so I wanted to be this winner, you know, and so I wanted to be part of the design group of an Americas Cup winner team. That was the dream I had when everything started.

Did your family support you in this choice?

My family always supports me and try to to keep me motivated and believing on me, even if sometimes in their eyes I was feeling that they were not believing I could ever do it. But I think something that has always motivated me when there was not trust in me or a bit impossible world behind a challenge. That was the best thing you could do to me, because then I wanted to do everything to demonstrate that I was able to do that.

So you managed to make your dream comes true? How did you do that?

I remember very good that. I was asking around to everyone that I knew if they had ideas of what was the path to follow to enter to such a team, and there il was. It was interesting how people reacted because a lot of people was laughing and always were trying to guide me and also telling me that it was really, really hard. And of course, my school gave me all the guidance they could. It was super cool that my school was that way. A class that was oriented in sailing. I remember that specific year, a very special year for me because all the topics of the school had to be oriented to sailing, such as physics, mathematics, chemics, literature, history, everything was linked to sail. I was 14 years old and so I understood much better how I could impacting the performance of a boat being a mathematician, an engineer, whatever science related. So I started looking for the different universities and programs they were proposing and I thought that the aerospace which is at the end Aeronautics Engineering degree was the best for build high speed performance boats.

After graduation you worked as Sailing Data Analyst in KND Marine and since January you are in Alinghi RedBull Racing team as Data Analyst. Can you describe your career path for us? What do you do in particular?

After graduation, I worked as data analyst in Kinde Marine. And since January, I joined Alinghi Red Bull Racing, also as a data analyst. In particular, in my job, what I have to do is to collect all the data that is generated by the sensors that are on the boats. And then create a clean automated process to make faster the analysis and start making trends, organizing the data and understand how to make the boat faster.

Do you have any plans for your future career?

For my future career, what I would like at the moment is to really continue improving, learning and creating tools to make easier the work of data analyst in sailing racing yacht. I think there is still a lot to do. I think it's early stages for data analysis and big data with all the IA programmes and everything. So, of course my future career at the moment I see it as improving and continue learning of everything. I think I don't have a dream in this doing. Just to really make this Americas Cup win and this one and all the next ones and eventually be the woman with most Americas Cups in the pocket.

You also are a windsurfing athlete, you have been competing since 2007 in pre-Olympic competitions and aspires to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Very young, 26 years old, you are the first woman in the Spanish SailGP team, the fastest flying catamaran competition in the world. You have therefore managed to combine you passion with your work. They say "do the job you love and you won't work a day" but unfortunately it is not easy, nowadays young people are often forced to put aside their passions and look for a job that first of all allows them to build one's own life, that it is well remunerated. In your case, how did you do it? Do you have any advice for the young girls?

If I have to give an advice to the young girls, I would say that -and it's an advice to all the young persons - to believe in their self, to try to sometimes don't rush into what the society is pushing you to do or the even the teachers, the family. Because sometimes even if they want the best for you they are wrong. No one knows you as much as you do, so it's very important to sometimes just stop. Think about what do you really want to do. And even if you have a list of few things that are incompatible between them, then at least you have an idea of what you want and do not hesitate to make mistakes to try to do too much at the very beginning, because then. Naturally, you wanna go in the direction you have to go. And anything that happened, you will understand why. But if you are making an effort, and if you are moving forward, you are always going to win, even if at the moment you don't understand it. So just believe in yourself and stop and try to listen to you.
Nowadays, young people are often forced to put aside their passions and look for a job that first of all allows them to build their own life. And that is only looked by remuneration. In my special case I it was very lucky to really bet for me and for my own very particular ideas. I was a person that was very, very lost when I was 18 years old. And in my first degree at university degree year because I had, I would say, multiple dreams that were not compatible each other to do at the same time. One part of me as an athlete in a windsurfer wanted to spend the time, the hours on the water just sailing. But the other part of me, the one that had been studying, learning and pushing for being where I was in the university where not a lot of people was able to enter and less women, we were only 10 out of 100 students. So I also wanted to succeed in this career. And so I remember very well that was not easy, but finally I decided to stop windsurfing competitions. But never sailing. I keep on sailing and coaching the young generations and at the same time I was trying to make this degree happens and learning everything I needed to continue the dream of being part of a sailing team and part of the engineering team.

Have you encountered difficulties as a woman in your studies or in your career? Have you noticed particular problems for girls? In your opinion, are still there barriers in Europe that prevent girls from approaching STEM studies or young women from pursuing a career in these professions? What could be done to improve things?

I think to improve the number of women involved in STEM it's important to show the examples in the schools. In in the early stages, but not forget also the moments just before the selection of which career to you want to do to the young girls. And voice of the different options they have and show them examples of success. And then they can feel able to find this example and reference and then follow that path.
So as a woman. In my studies and my career I would say the main problems I've been confronted to were the lack of references. It was sometimes this feeling of being a bit alone in something, and so asking yourself twice if what was wrong. Why? There was no more woman in your path. Then that was something that I had since very early. And so I started just changing the mindset and trying to find references that were not sexualized. That means I was just looking for persons I was seeing myself as a person and I was trying to find who in the world have ever done that. I was looking for it, taking it as an example and going for it. I will never stop myself. I was not just seeing the difference between boys and girls, and I think that's something that my parents did very well because that's why they were naturally doing to me always just talking to me as a person, and not as a girl or a boy.

Is there any advice you can give to girls who love STEM and would like to take this path but still have uncertainties and fears?

If I had to give any advice to girls who loves them and would like to take this path but still have uncertainties and fears: is just to analyse these uncertainties and fears. What are what is scaring you. Because STEM is a big percentage of our future. So whoever is interested in this world is lucky. We are in a technological world and more and more mathematics, physics. Engineering is what is going to be about a big percentage of the industry of the future. So one person and one girl who likes that is just very lucky and should continue growing and learning about it. And of course, she will find an amazing job. She will find solutions to the problems that will happen, and she will live the life that she will like. She will be able to choose because she will be good at what she's doing. I think it's time to stop thinking that stem is male oriented and I think this is more and more common. So just I would say it's good to have uncertainties and fears, but just sit down, analyse them and if they make sense, it's OK. If they don't, just move forward.
I would also add that there is lot of already built dreams. But you are allowed to create your own dream. And what I mean with that? I mean in the wizarding world, in a particular case, the dream was to win a gold medal, and be in the engineering world. The normal and standard dream was to be the most intelligent, have the best marks and who knows, have a Nobel Prize? In my particular case, I build my own dream. Which was being part of an Americas Cup team. A winner America's Cup team. And for that, I quickly understood I was not following the dream of the gold medal and I was neither following the dream of the Nobel Nobel Prize, so I will never be the best in nothing of the things I was doing because I will be the best mix. And sometimes it's super difficult to just build your own dream, but I think it's worth. We also need time to understand there is something that cannot come. Look, from one day to the other that all the initiatives that are being done at the moment are giving fruits and will deliver fruits. In at least 10 years. But that's coming, and in my particular case I'm feeling it. And see in it and I truly believe in in this.