Two SA women to set sail on Antarctic voyage

By Melissa Keogh

Two South Australian women will join an all-female expedition to the edge of the earth – Antarctica – in 2018.

Laura Trotta of Roxby Downs and Dr Elizabeth Schmidt of the Adelaide Hills will swap South Australian heatwaves for subzero temperatures during the three-week voyage to the icy continent next February.

The two women were chosen to join a group of 80 female explorers from across the world as part of the 12-month Homeward Bound program.

The first Homeward Bound Antarctic expedition was in 2016.

The first Homeward Bound Antarctic expedition was in 2016.

Homeward Bound is a global movement raising awareness for the low representation of female leaders in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).

Throughout the three-week Antarctic trip, the women will withstand temperatures of about -15C and will battle inevitable seasickness through the notoriously rough waters of Drake’s Passage between Cape Horn and South Shetland Islands.

They will use the opportunity to develop leadership capabilities, networking skills, and showing that female researchers and environmentalists can also influence significant issues such as climate change.

Laura has spent more than a decade working as an environmental professional and now runs a successful eco-consulting businesses from Roxby Downs, helping people live more sustainable and lifestyles.

Roxby Downs mother-of-two Laura Trotta will head to Antarctica in February.

Roxby Downs mother-of-two Laura Trotta will head to Antarctica in February.

“It’s not just about going to Antarctica, it’s about a 12-month leadership program to really give this group of women the skills and confidence to raise their scientific voices collaboratively on a global scale against climate change,” Laura says.

Dr Schmidt comes from a research background and is currently working in business development for scientific research organisation, CSIRO.

The news of the Antarctic voyage came out of the blue, she says.

“I was really surprised and incredibly delighted,” Dr Schmidt says.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to learn skills and help younger women coming through in science and technology areas.

Dr Elizabeth Schmidt will also embark on the trip to the white continent.

Dr Elizabeth Schmidt will also embark on the trip to the white continent.

Both women must raise funds to support their trip and book a berth on the ship.

Got a spare penny? Make a donation to Laura via her website and to Dr Schmidt, who can be contacted on Elizabeth.Schmidt@csiro.au.

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