Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has announced eight women studying at three universities across Australia have been awarded science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarships by Defence.
Minister Price said Defence was working to take a leading role in shaping the national STEM agenda and build a strong record of inclusion.
The scholarships were awarded to students who demonstrated academic excellence and who displayed positive attributes such as community leadership and extra-curricular engagement.
"Defence needs to ensure that we access the best talent from all parts of the diverse Australian community to build the workforce," Minister Price said.
This week marked National Science Week, Australia's annual celebration of science and technology. The recipients were:
- University of Newcastle, NSW:
- Sarah Creasey – Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours);
- Tess Horton – Bachelor of Mathematics/Bachelor of Science;
- Odessa Mullin – Bachelor of Biomedical Science;
- Edith Cowan University, Western Australia:
- Margret Beniameen – Bachelor of Information Technology;
- Shannon Marie Calitz – Bachelor of Science;
- The Australian National University, ACT:
- Rose Zhang, studying a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) – Science;
- Lilli Reardon, studying a Bachelor of Health Science; and
- Olivia Flower, studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Research and Development) (Honours).
Minister Price said the awarding of the scholarships to the undergraduate students was another significant step forward for Defence – which is a major employer of people with STEM skills – in building a more diverse STEM workforce.
"This is part of Defence’s efforts to strengthen our intellectual capital, building our ability to solve problems with innovative solutions," Minister Price added.
Defence’s commitment to building diversity in STEM aligns with its Workforce Strategic Vision, which encourages a systematic approach to increasing the depth and diversity of the talent pool.
Minister Price added, "Women currently represent about 16 per cent of Australia’s STEM skilled workforce and while this figure is growing, we still have more work to do."
In February 2020, Defence was awarded the Bronze Athena Swan Award as part of the Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Accreditation.
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This award recognises that an institution has demonstrated a good understanding of the current status of gender equity, and is well positioned to address inequities.