Shaping the World

Raytheon Australia supports International Women in Engineering Day

A Raytheon Australia engineer tours the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, which was used to create virtual prototypes during the LAND 19 Phase 7B short-range, ground-based air defence program design. It helps reduce risk, cost and resources for the Australian Army. 

For girls with aspirations of helping shape the world as an engineer, International Women in Engineering Day, which is observed globally on June 23 and strongly supported by Raytheon Australia, is a source of inspiration.

Christine Shanahan, a Raytheon Australia systems engineer in the Land 19 Project team, working on Short Range Ground-Based Air Defence, said a curious nature and a passion for problem-solving are what drew her to a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM.

“My father was a civil structural engineer, so I was exposed to engineering from a young age,” said Shanahan, who holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering for the University of Queensland.

“I have a naturally curious nature and my favourite question as a child was ‘Why?’” she said. “STEM is a great field if you like to know why and how things work.”

Shanahan says she couldn’t be happier with her engineering career choice, even though she has had her share of hurdles to jump in her journey to becoming an engineer.

“It can be daunting and sometimes lonely," she said. “However, if the work culture engenders mutual respect for all people, you end up with a lovely mix of personalities and you feel like you belong.

“The one piece of advice I would give young women looking to pursue a career in STEM is to take opportunities," Shanahan said. “If opportunities aren’t coming your way, make them. Don’t worry if your way of solving a problem is different, that’s what brings diversity to an organisation; and gives it resiliency.”

Raytheon Australia is focused on creating a pipeline of future engineers for the defence industry and the Australian Defence Force, aiming to raise the profile of women in engineering and encouraging young girls to consider a future in STEM.

Women have an important role to play in bringing a diverse perspective to engineering and are, therefore, integral to Raytheon Australia’s success. With a decade of investment, accompanied by a longstanding commitment to STEM, Raytheon Australia is focused on developing future leaders and innovators. The company’s diverse engineering portfolio employs people from newly-minted graduates to senior leaders who have enhanced their skills through the company’s tailored Leadership Continuum.

Mellissa Hardtke working on the company’s submarine program is another successful Raytheon Australia engineer. Having joined the company in 2006, she has taken every opportunity to extend herself professionally.

“One of the benefits of working for a large organisation is the project diversity it offers,” said Hardtke.

“As an engineer with Raytheon Australia, I have the ability to diversify and work in specific interest areas," she said. “Also, I enjoy the never-ending learning space and opportunities to grow knowledge. I enjoy the platform it creates to be heard in a universal sense.

“This is particularly appealing as a woman in a male-centric demographic. From a personal perspective, the people I work with are a constant source of inspiration, encouragement and entertainment. I am so fortunate to work with such a diversely talented band of colleagues.” said Hardtke, whose grandfather, father and uncle are all engineers.

“Claiming and owning your work is crucial to be heard and identified," she said. “Most importantly, be authentic and create your own individual brand and voice at work. Refine a skill set that you are known and recognised for.”

Through its support of International Women in Engineering Day, the Australian Academy of Science's Women in STEM Decadal Plan, and the provision of leadership and professional development programs for men and women in engineering, Raytheon Australia values gender diversity in its engineering programs. It allows them to draw on the expertise and diverse experiences of its women and men, who bring fresh perspectives to some of Australia’s most complex defence programs.

Published On: 06/16/2020
Last Updated: 06/22/2020