Inspiring Australia's youth

Supporting the dreams of our future aerospace and aviation leaders

Two Australian students get their first chance at flying an aircraft through flight simulation while taking part in the annual Australian Youth Aerospace Forum in Queensland, Australia. Raytheon Australia partners with the Australian Youth Aerospace Association to provide young Australians with opportunities to explore the wonders of aerospace and avionics. Image: Australian Youth Aerospace Association.

University student Sarah Henbury loves Star Wars, mathematics and science, so it’s only natural she’s aiming for a career in the aerospace industry.

Henbury is one of 20 senior high school and first year engineering students chosen to receive a $1000 Raytheon Australia-sponsored Australian Youth Aerospace Association scholarship, inspiring them to thrive in Australia’s growing aerospace and avionics industry.

Raytheon Australia has been a long-standing partner of the AYAA, sponsoring the association’s annual forum, which allows high school students to learn about the wonders of aerospace and avionics each year. Through this partnership, Raytheon Australia is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to motivating Australian youth to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics studies.

“By inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals, Raytheon Australia is supporting the development of skills for the future and developing leaders of tomorrow,” said Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward.

“We’re excited to provide this pathway for students to engage directly with the Australian aerospace industry, and we aim to help guide students towards their career paths, build connections for their future and provide the support that will encourage them to pursue their goals.”

Three scholarship recipients have also been selected to receive mentoring from a Raytheon Australia engineering expert and an AYAA executive, which will broaden their knowledge of the industry and identify career opportunities available to them after university.

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student Simone Spisiak has been selected for the mentoring program. Spisiak, who is also completing a Diploma in Professional Engineering Practice, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, said extending herself beyond academic study was a personal priority.

“Since completing high school, I have come to understand that to make it in the real world, you must be more than just your grades. It’s not about academic perfection, but rather about being inquisitive and resilient,” said Spisiak.

“Being inquisitive to me means to be unafraid of exploring new opportunities,” she said. “To ask questions that may not have an answer. It also means having an active interest in learning. All of which this mentoring program has granted me the opportunity to do.”

Henbury, who is undertaking a Bachelor of Philosophy majoring in engineering science and mathematics and statistics, applied for the scholarship as courses in aerospace engineering were not offered at any university in her home state.

“I was so excited to hear about this program and having access to a mentor to provide me firsthand information about aerospace engineering opportunities around Australia and how mechanical engineering complements the aerospace industry,” said Henbury.

“STEM careers are rapidly changing and developing, and barriers are being lifted to allow for equal opportunity within both the learning and workplace environments. I hope to inspire the next generation to consider careers in STEM by showing them the diverse opportunities that are available,” she said.

“I plan to use my scholarship money to further my education in model rocketry including completing my L1 and L2 certifications,” she said. “Who knows, maybe I will build a Millennium Falcon one day.”

Another student selected to receive mentoring, Taj Wedutenko, said the chance to learn from senior engineers at Raytheon Australia is “invaluable".

“I know that the people from both Raytheon Australia and AYAA have vast knowledge in leadership and engineering and I can’t wait to pick their brains for all of the tips that they have in those fields,” said Wedutenko, who is studying a combined degree in mechatronic engineering and science and wants to design and use space robotics.

The three mentoring recipients will continue to engage with their Raytheon Australia and AYAA mentors, providing them with the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and further develop their understanding of the aerospace and defence industries.

Published On: 04/06/2021
Last Updated: 04/12/2021