Advocate – Women in STEM

Cherish McNamara was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Wright State University and on the day she graduated with a Bachelor in Business Management in 1997, was commissioned into the US Air Force as an officer.  

Once on active duty, Cherish attended Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (JSUPT) at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, earning her wings in 1999. 

Her first assignment  – an aeromedical mission flying C-9 Nightingale aircraft out of Yokota Air Base, Japan – took Cherish all over the Pacific region.  Here, she attended the USAF Flight Safety School, subsequently taking on the role of squadron and wing safety officer.

Cherish was next stationed at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, where she flew the C-130E Hercules aircraft.  She was upgraded to Instructor Pilot and was deployed multiple times to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She amassed over 500 combat hours in the C-130 on these operations.

Cherish’s final assignment, before being honourably discharged at the rank of Major in 2007, was as the Exchange Officer to the UK.  In this role she flew C-130Ks from RAF Lyneham.

After moving to Australia with her husband, Cherish worked in the training design/development industry for Jacobs Australia, CAE, IDAT (International Defence and Aerospace Training) and South Metropolitan TAFE, and began lecturing units in pilot studies and aviation management.

A technology enthusiast, Cherish was employed as a RPAS (drone) trainer and assessor for Australian Training Management in 2018.  She developed their CASA approved Remote Pilot Licence course and was the Chief Instructor and Chief Remote Pilot.  

Currently, Cherish is working as the Training and Development Manager for Western Power where she oversees the Power Training Services Centre – an enterprise RTO.

Cherish is an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields, a leading Skincare brand in North America, and was an integral part of its 2018 Australian launch. Her outstanding community work saw her chosen to represent Rodan + Fields in its work with The Smith Family, during their Sydney ChangeMaker Trip. Following this, Cherish became a Smith Family mentor to an tertiary aviation student. Other volunteer work includes being in the command ranks of the only Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Australia.

With a wealth of experience and a natural penchant for engaging with an audience, Cherish is often invited to speak publicly, including at STEM events in primary schools. Indeed, Cherish has been nominated for an award by Women in Technology WA (WiTWA) for her work in the STEM area.  

Cherish believes that aviation is infused with STEM and is passionate about getting young girls interested in a career in aviation, especially as a pilot. She looks forward to furthering this important cause as the Women in STEM Advocate for WA DEFENCE REVIEW.