Eleven exceptional STEM professionals from across Australia will participate in this year’s Science meets Parliament as winners of our prestigious scholarships.
The highly-competitive honours were awarded in four categories – Indigenous, STEM Pride, Regional, and Technology Scholarships.
They are sponsored by the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), CropLife Australia, Brighter, and the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering.
The scholarships give emerging STEM leaders access to all the high-quality program of Science meets Parliament, one-on-one mentoring from a previous delegate, and an exclusive webinar.
This year’s scholarships were hotly contested. The judges noted the very high calibre of entries in all categories and thanked everyone for their applications.
This year’s exceptional Indigenous Scholarship winners are Ashley Marino and Dr Jordan Pitt. Their scholarships are sponsored by the Australian Academy of Science, and EQUS -the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.
Darumbal Murri woman Ashley Marino has an environmental science background with a passion for biodiversity, rehabilitation and Indigenous empowerment. She is currently seconded in a Heritage Specialist role, where she is constantly seeing the importance of Indigenous and Archaeological sciences for the future of mining and societal growth.
Dr Jordan Pitt is a proud Aboriginal mathematician with an affinity and interest in water. His PhD was on developing numerical methods for modelling water and his current research is on understanding the interaction of ocean waves and sea ice to improve current climate models.
In the STEM Pride category – sponsored by EQUS – there was a tie from the judging panel, so three outstanding recipients will receive scholarships: Olivia Jessop; Haylo Roberts; and Dr Kathryn Ross.
Oliva Jessop is a PhD Student in Public Health. Olivia’s scientific focus is applying microbial genomics to developing molecular diagnostics for antibiotic-resistant STDs, and her PhD works to integrate the diagnostic with disease surveillance. Olivia is a casual academic at the University of Queensland and the head of the Australasian Council for Undergraduate Research Student Committee.
Haylo Roberts is a transgender man and third year PhD candidate researching the genomics of neglected tropical disease Onchocerciasis. He is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM and making STEM accessible.
Kathryn Ross is a PhD student at Curtin University in Perth working on the variability of baby black holes in distant galaxies using telescopes around Australia. She has worked extensively as a science communicator and activist for women in STEM including leading a national campaign, #IncludeHer, to correct high school courses to include a more diverse representation of scientists.
The Regional Scholarships – sponsored by CropLife Australia and Brighter – are for exceptional STEM professionals working more than 150 kilometres from Australia’s major cities. This year there were three winners of Regional Scholarships: Jake Clark; Dr Amy Moss; and Dr Wendy Quayle.
Jake Clark’s ‘day job’ is assisting NASA in discovering and characterising alien worlds that no human has laid eyes upon before. Before becoming a PhD Candidate and Fulbright Future Scholar based at the University of Southern Queensland’s Toowoomba campus, he ran away and joined the circus… the Questacon science circus, presenting science shows across regional Australia.
Dr Amy Moss is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New England researching nutritional strategies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of chicken-meat production. Dr Moss’ current research projects include exploring the precision feeding of broilers using robotics.
Associate Professor Wendy Quayle’s research focuses on the management of sustainable irrigated agriculture, identifying the nexus between high yielding crop production whilst developing best practice for environmental protection. Wendy is a senior researcher in the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures (CeRRF), Deakin University based in Griffith, NSW.
Finally, three outstanding STEM experts will receive Technology Scholarships, sponsored by the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering and Brighter. This year’s winners are Candice Lam, Dr Andreea Molnar, and Dr Vijay Rajagopal.
Candice Lam has international engineering and systems testing experience spanning 15 years across mining, oil and gas (subsea), automation and operational technology sectors. Her professional dedication and passion for driving diversity in STEM and inclusive workforces saw her win the Women’s Agenda 2019 Emerging Leader in Tech and in March 2020 she was nationally recognised as one of Engineers Australia 10 Emerging Women Leaders.
Dr Andreea Molnar is a Senior Lecturer at the Swinburne University of Technology. Andreea’s research focuses on computing for the social good and incorporates various aspects from information systems, HCI, and educational games.
Dr Vijay Rajagopal is a biomedical engineer with over 15 years of experience in translational and basic biomedical science research. He leads a new research program to understand fundamentals of how cells in the heart and other organs work and is developing a world-first digital platform called the Ageing Heart Atlas to enable identification of new targets for drugs that reduce the risk of heart disease in our ageing population.
Science & Technology Australia: media inquiries: Martyn Pearce – 0432 606 828