How to become an ‘underwater astronaut’

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Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day, Izzy Penney will talk about her experiences as one of the first RN female submariners

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Izzy Penney MEng, Royal Navy Submarine Service


18.30 Presentation

19.00 Q&A

19.30 Estimated end


As part of the celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, Izzy Penney will talk about her journey to and experiences as one of the first female submariners in the Royal Navy.

Submariners will often light heartedly refer to themselves as ‘underwater astronauts’ or ‘astronauts with a worse view’ due to the similarities in engineering challenges and confined living conditions they face.

Izzy will discuss her route from school to where she is today, what life on a submarine is like including general living questions (there are no windows- spoiler alert). Touch on some of the incredible technology and challenges to sustaining human life underwater, and of returning to ‘normal’ after operating in an unusual environment which I am sure of us may feel coming out of COVID restrictions.


Headline Speaker: Izzy Penney MEng, Royal Navy Submarine Service

As a Marine Engineering Officer in the Royal Navy Submarine Service. She joined the Royal Navy in 2014, which happened to be the same year that the submarine service opened to women. She was selected for submarines during initial training at BRNC Dartmouth, completed her nuclear training and has since spent almost 18 months deployed on Vanguard class submarines in a number of marine engineering roles, including as a Category A Nuclear Watchkeeper. It is fair to say she has learnt a lot about engineering, people and herself in this time.

Her path to engineering was by no means a given, attending an all-girls school with little exposure to engineering careers, it was a chance trawl of UCAS courses during sixth form that led to her discovery of Chemical Engineering as a degree. When applying for jobs prior to completing her Masters, she felt a sense of wanting to do something that was exciting, interesting and important but wasn’t sure what that would look like, until she met the Royal Navy at a recruitment event.

If you’re interested in hearing the rest of the story, please join us on 23 June.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event, please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.


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Organiser BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Organiser of How to become an ‘underwater astronaut’

We are all responsible for ensuring technology-led change is safe and positive for everyone in society. At BCS we’re committed to meeting this responsibility under royal charter.

That’s why we set the highest standards of professionalism and best practice in the industry, share knowledge, and develop skills and capability tuned to our evolving digital world.

We’ve been supporting the technology industry since 1957 and our 73,000-strong membership spans 150 countries. Every member actively promotes IT professionalism and we provide them with career development opportunities and bring the community together to address the professional, ethical and economic challenges facing technology today.

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