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Defence forces pathways for women in science

On International Day for Women and Girls in Science, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has highlighted the world class training opportunities for women and girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

In 2017, 41% of female students at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) studied Science, Engineering, Technology, Computing and Cyber Security degrees.

Senior Military Recruiting Officer, Commander Cath Hayes, graduated from ADFA with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Oceanography.

Cath, a Maritime Warfare Officer (MWO), was the first female to Command a Warship in the Middle East.

Her advice to young women is to study and pursue a career in STEM as it opens many doors to exciting Defence careers.

“Having a foundation in science and mathematics will give you opportunities to work with some of the most advanced and exciting technology and systems in the world,” Cath said.

“So much of what a MWO does has a mathematical element to it. You need to be able to think quickly and make calculated decisions at a moment’s notice.

“To drive a warship you need to understand the engineering of the ship, understand how the ship works both mechanically and electronically. It’s what enables you to employ the weapons systems and keep the ship and the crew safe at all times.”

Specialist Recruiter for Women, Fight Lieutenant Belinda Pavlovic is an ADFA graduate, having completed a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering to become an Aeronautical Engineer in the Royal Australian Air Force.

It’s a day job which involves maintaining and managing aircraft structures, propulsion systems, ancillary equipment and related ground support systems, working at the leading edge of aircraft technology.

It wasn’t her first role in the Air Force, Belinda joined in 2004 as an Aircraft Technician, a role which also involves maintaining and repairing state of the art aircraft, before deciding to pursue a career as an officer.

Becoming an officer gave her the opportunity to take on new challenges and responsibilities such as leadership, management, and welfare of technical and logistics personnel within the engineering environment.

“Trainee officers studying at ADFA through the University of New South Wales in Canberra benefit from the best university teacher-to-student ratio in the country,” Belinda said.

Belinda who has ambitions of becoming a Flight Test Engineer in the future is about to become a Mum.

Belinda said she loves that she can do what she loves and can have it all.

“Right now I’m focused on attracting the best and most talented candidates Australia has to offer, including women, to consider ADF careers,” Belinda said.

“I feel lucky that mathematics and science appealed to me. I hope we can spark an interest in the next generation of girls by sharing where science and maths could take them.”

Source: Australian Government

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