Natesa MacRae manages her life the same way she manages complex systems: by trying to find a way to make everything work together. Although she originally planned to study medicine, she changed her mind at the last minute; instead applying to a wide range of programs at different universities. In the end, she completed her Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from McGill University, and hasn't looked back.
Natesa started her career working with automated systems, including having the unique opportunity to work as a systems engineer on the Canadarm program at MDA Space Missions, where she was trained as a mission specialist at the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers. During this time, Natesa worked part-time to complete her Master of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies before transitioning to the MDA Advanced Systems team.
After 5 years in space systems, Natesa decided to break out on her own, starting her own business validating automated systems for the biologics, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. In 2011, after 13 years in the private sector, Natesa joined the NRC as a systems engineer for the Aerospace Research Centre. Since then, Natesa has been responsible for the industrial control systems at the NRC's Gas Turbine Laboratory, which generate simulated altitude and icing conditions for engine testing, and high pressure air for the testing of low-emission, fuel-flexible combustion systems for both the aviation and energy sectors. Natesa is also an advocate for green engineering, with her current research focus on aircraft electrification, decarbonisation of Canada's energy system, and the use of clean alternative fuels.