Samantha Roald has been nominated in the Rising Star category for the Australian Defence Magazine Women in Defence Awards 2020. 

She was nominated for her work on the Canberra-class amphibious assault ship (LHD), investigating and rectifying issues, producing a test plan and maintaining procedure and updates to standing orders to ensure consistent implementation across the class.

Senior Marine Engineer David Winters said Ms Roald played a vital role in the resolution of the LHD fuel contamination issue.

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

Ms Roald’s interest in a career with the Navy was forged when she spent two months at sea on sail training ship Young Endeavour.

“It was the beginning of my love of ships and interest in a naval career,” Ms Roald said.

When she discovered she was unable to join the Navy, she looked into a career in the APS 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, Ms Roald finds every day at work is different. She works with stakeholders, subject matter experts and on various maritime projects to define requirements for new acquisitions, ships and capability upgrades.

Her 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,” Ms Roald said.

Having benefited from the mentoring provided by the Sea Scouts organisation, she feels it 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,” she 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.” 

Her advice to young women thinking of joining the Navy or the Defence organisation is to just do it. 

“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,” she said.