Samantha’s star is rapidly rising

Published on Ms Harriet Pointon Mather (author)

Topic(s): Women in Defence Awards

Australian Defence Magazine’s Women in Defence Awards 2020 finalist, Miss Samantha (Sam) Roald. (photo: Unknown)
Australian Defence Magazine’s Women in Defence Awards 2020 finalist, Miss Samantha (Sam) Roald.

Women In Defence Awards Finalist Feature Article

The second in our five-part special feature on the remarkable Royal Australian Navy women selected as finalists in the Australian Defence Magazine’s Women in Defence Awards 2020, which celebrate talented, determined and successful women in the Defence community. These inspiring stories are being told each day this week.

The second of our five finalists is Samantha (Sam) Roald from the Navy Engineering Branch in the Directorate of Navy Engineering, who was nominated in the ‘Rising Star’ Category for women under 30 years old.

Sam was nominated for her work to rectify fuel quality issues on the Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD), including investigation and rectification of issues, production of a test plan and maintenance procedure and updates to standing orders to ensure consistent implementation across the class.

Mr David Winters, Senior Marine Engineer said that Sam played a vital role in the resolution of the LHD fuel contamination issues.

“Sam was reliable, intelligent and hardworking and quickly became my right-hand person,” Mr Winters said.

Sam’s interest in a career with the Navy was forged when she spent two months at sea on Sail Training Ship (STS) Young Endeavour.

“It was the beginning of my love of ships and interest in a Naval career,” Sam said.

When Sam discovered she was unable to join the Navy she looked into a career in the Australian Public Service working for the Navy and was subsequently accepted into the Navy Civilian Engineering Development Program where she realised she could still attain her dream job, albeit in a different capacity.

Now, working as the Assistant Project Liaison Officer Acquisition - Maritime Surface and Above Water Combatants, Sam finds every day at work is different as she works with stakeholders, subject matter experts and various maritime projects to define requirements for new acquisitions, ships and capability upgrades.

Sam’s love of ships is not just limited to her professional life, with her passion also coming to the fore in her role as a Sea Scout Leader where she works with young people in sailing, science and adventurous activities and programs.

“Giving young people an opportunity to push boundaries, challenge themselves and find out who they are is something I’m truly passionate about,” Sam said.

Having benefited herself from the mentoring provided by the Sea Scouts organisation, Sam feels strongly that it is important to offer that support to others.

“Mentoring is a critical component in the development of anyone in any organisation and is even more critical when it comes to trying to shift the culture of an organisation to be more inclusive,” Sam said.

“It is especially important in engineering fields as the strengths and weaknesses of female engineers are different from our male counterparts so a targeted program of mentoring and support is essential.”

And Sam’s advice to young women thinking of joining the Navy or the Defence Organisation?

“Never let anyone tell you that you don’t belong somewhere if that’s what you want to be, then you belong there.

“If you’re truly passionate about something be the driving force required for change.”

Winners of the Women in Defence Awards 2020 will be announced on Friday 23 October. Details of the awards and winner announcements can be found at