Scholarships grow Defence's talent pool

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The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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Ben Spencer: +61 412 754 310
Charlotte Butler: +61 406 338 521
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22 August 2020

Eight women studying at three universities across Australia have been awarded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarships by Defence.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said Defence was working to take a leading role in shaping the national STEM agenda and build a strong record of inclusion.

This week marked National Science Week, Australia's annual celebration of science and technology.

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.

“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 is part of Defence’s efforts to strengthen our intellectual capital, building our ability to solve problems with innovative solutions.”

The scholarships were awarded to students who demonstrated academic excellence and who displayed positive attributes such as community leadership and extra-curricular engagement.

The recipients were:

  • University of Newcastle, New South Wales:
    • 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, Australian Capital Territory:
    • Rose Zhang, studying a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) – Science
    • Lilli Reardon, studying a Bachelor of Health Science
    • Olivia Flower, studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Research and Development) (Honours)

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.

“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,” Minister Price said.

“Awarding these scholarships is just one of the ways Defence is driving change in the gender equity landscape in Australia.”

In February 2020, Defence was awarded the Bronze Athena Swan Award as part of the Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Accreditation.

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.

Further information on STEM careers in Defence can be found at

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