Lockheed Martin Australia and Edith Cowan University awards celebrate graduate cyber experts

Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) and Edith Cowan University (ECU) have announced the winners of three inaugural LMA sponsored student achievement awards, as part of a partnership to help grow a sovereign capability of computer science and cyber security experts of the future.

The 2020 award-winning ECU graduating recipients of the LMA sponsored awards included Kristy Lee Michael, who was awarded the Lockheed Martin Australia Indigenous Student in Computing and Security Award; Joseph Slodowy, who received the Lockheed Martin Australia Computer Science Award; and Heide Fisher, who was awarded the Lockheed Martin Australia Women in Computing and Security Award.

In support of ECU’s School of Science annual Prize Giving Award Ceremony, LMA has contributed $13,500 in prize money over three years to recognise excellence across the field of computer science and cyber.

Lockheed Martin Australia business development engagement lead, Kendell Kuczma, said the company was committed to helping secure a constant supply of talent with essential skills to disrupt and prevent cyber threats.

“It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Kristy, Joseph and Heide on being the first ECU graduates to receive the LMA computing science awards. An inspiring achievement that recognises their knowledge, hard work and expertise in computing science and sets a high bar for future students to strive for excellence in the cyber domain,” Kuczma said.

Associate Professor Paul Haskell-Dowland, Associate Dean for Computing and Security in the School of Science at ECU, said “We are pleased to partner with Lockheed Martin Australia on the student awards as it is a terrific example of Australian defence industry formally acknowledging excellence within our student community and that the rigorous academic pathways students have completed is of a high standard.”

ECU graduating students, Kristy Lee Michael, Joseph Slodowy and Heide Fisher were each excited and honoured to receive the LMA computing science awards.

Kristy Lee Michael decided to go back to university after being a stay at home mum and started with free online coding and network courses and enjoyed cyber security.

She said “This award means the world to me as recognition for all the hard work I have put in over the past six years and as the internship was unpaid, I was going to have to save a bit before I could start earning my certifications but now I can get started on that goal much sooner.”

Joseph Slodowy, a recent graduate in Computer Science majoring in Cyber Security was acknowledged as being one of the top 100 students at ECU in 2019 and has recently gained his first role in his field of study as a Security Analyst, said “The award represents my dedication and hard work in my studies to reach my current position and is a positive indicator of success for my future career.”

Heide Fisher, a mature age student who recently completed a Master of Cyber Security at ECU made the decision to undertake the complex program following a career break where she accompanied her husband overseas for many years and raised three children.

“This prize by Lockheed Martin Australia recognises the growing importance of women in the computing and security domains. It also underscores the critical support by industry in forming long-term collaborative linkages with leading universities such as ECU.”