Encouraging STEM achieves award nomination

Published on Ms Harriet Pointon Mather (author), LSIS Ronnie Baltoft (photographer)

Topic(s): Women in Defence Awards

Deputy Platform Systems Sustainment Manager Lieutenant Commander Siobhan Sturdy speaks with students from Mercedes College at the Submarine Recruiting Team presentation as part of National Science Week held at Mercedes College in Perth, WA. (photo: LSIS Ronnie Baltoft)
Deputy Platform Systems Sustainment Manager Lieutenant Commander Siobhan Sturdy speaks with students from Mercedes College at the Submarine Recruiting Team presentation as part of National Science Week held at Mercedes College in Perth, WA.

Women In Defence Awards Finalist Feature Article

The final article in our five-part special feature, telling the inspiring stories of 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.

Lieutenant Commander Siobhan Sturdy is a finalist in the Engineering category, and is currently the Deputy Platform System Sustainment Manager, in Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, HMAS Stirling.

Lieutenant Commander Sturdy was nominated for her work as the Marine Engineer Officer whilst serving in HMAS Sheean, where she was the first female Marine Engineer Officer to complete a full Head of Department posting in a Collins Class submarine

As Marine Engineer Officer she successfully lead the Marine Technical team during a time of high operational tempo, with challenging deployments and around 200 days away from home port in 2019.

While passionate about the Navy, submarines and her seagoing time, Lieutenant Commander Sturdy is also equally passionate about fostering STEM opportunities among young women and encouraging young female students to look to STEM and the Royal Australian Navy as career options.

“It’s important to talk to young girls as early as possible, to explain about engineering and how there are so many exciting career opportunities that open up to them when they embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects,” Lieutenant Command Sturdy said.

Over her ten year career with the Navy Lieutenant Commander Sturdy has noticed the increasing recognition that diversity within the organisation is both an enabler and force multiplier.

“A more diverse organisation is always going to be a stronger, and in Navy’s case, more lethal warfighting organisation,” Lieutenant Commander Siobhan Sturdy said.

“Diversity brings the full potential to an organisation, and I think Navy is ahead of the game in this regard with all jobs open to women.”

Incredibly enthusiastic about her career with Navy, Lieutenant Commander Sturdy said the Navy was like another family.

“It’s the close connections with the people you work with, likeminded professionals, that makes life in the Navy so rewarding,” Lieutenant Commander Sturdy said.

“There is just nothing like being at sea on a submarine with a team of driven and focused people.”

Lieutenant Commander Sturdy noted that these were exciting times for women in the Navy, with changing perspectives, and increased chances for programs, initiatives and networking.

“There are so many opportunities for female members to connect now and it’s enriching both for those members but also for the Navy organisation as a whole,” Lieutenant Commander Sturdy said. 

And Lieutenant Commander Sturdy’s advice to young women thinking about joining the Navy?

“Go for it, jump in and challenge yourself!

“A career in the Navy is unusual, exciting and challenging - it will teach you about yourself and give you many opportunities and experiences that you can’t even imagine yet.”

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 https://admwomenindefenceawards.com.au.