When Squadron Leader Ajitha Sugnanam joined Air Force as a dentist, it allowed her to achieve her dream helping people in need in remote locations.

It also equipped her with the leadership skills and experience she needed to found her own NGO (non-government organisation) providing healthcare and other assistance in India. 

Growing up, Squadron Leader Sugnanam experienced life in many countries before settling in Australian, with her spare time spent with family and friends and enjoying her love of fitness training every day.

"I followed my dream of joining the Air Force as a dentist, giving me the opportunities to deploy and work in remote localities," Squadron Leader Sugnanam said.

"In my role as a dentist I was given the opportunity to support and work in Nepal, providing emergency dental treatment for the Nepalese people. 

"On another occasion, I was offered the challenging role as the officer in charge of a detachment in Darwin.

"As a new flight lieutenant it was a huge responsibility, coordinating, supporting capability, and managing personnel, but very rewarding."

Squadron Leader Sugnanam believes the best part of her career has been the deployments, posting to different locations and gaining different experiences. 

"As a dentist, I am currently a staff officer in the capability development section of Headquarters Health Service Wing," she said. 

"Air Force has given me the chance to develop and grow in the field of dentistry and I am completing my masters of clinical dentistry in oral surgery.  

"The next stage in my career I hope will include being staff officer to a senior Air Force officer."

Planning is underway for the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force on 31 March 2021. For further information, visit www.airforce.gov.au/100.