Zoology student on the COVID-19 frontline
Working over the holidays is not something people usually love, but for Navy Reservist Seaman Sophie Van Der Linden it was a welcome opportunity.
She is on her first ADF deployment on Operation COVID-19 Assist, supporting the NSW Government’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I worked Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and loved every minute of it, particularly helping families and individuals returning home,” Seaman Van Der Linden said.
“We’d help load their bags onto buses which take them from Sydney Airport to their hotel for their 14-day quarantine period.”
The 19 year old joined the Navy Reserves during her Gap Year in 2019.
“I’d heard about the Navy Gap Year Program during a career expo day at high school and thought that it would be a great way to spend a year,” Seaman Van Der Linden said.
“I grew up near the water on the Mornington Peninsular so felt drawn to Navy.”
She said her initial training was a great experience.
“We travelled around Australia, spent time at sea and I made lots of new friends.”
Seaman Van Der Linden is now wrapping up her deployment and getting ready to head back to university in Victoria.
“With the travel restrictions in place it will take slightly longer to get home but the opportunity to be able to contribute to Operation COVID-19 Assist, particularly for someone as young as me, makes it all worthwhile,” Seaman Van Der Linden said.
“Now I’m looking forward to getting back into my Zoology and Animal Science studies at Deakin University.”