Top honours for Flinders scholars

Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Honours) student Riya Abraham is one of the Flinders University winners of Playford Trust scholarships this year.

She was one of 40 high-achieving South Australian university students to share in almost $300,000 in scholarships designed to help SA’s skills and research base.

From Flinders University, Ms Abraham received the Fay Fuller Foundation Playford Trust Honours Scholarship in Health Sciences.

Three Bachelor of Science (Hons) students – Arthur Crichton, Nicholas Booth (Biotechnology) and Bradley Kirk (Enhanced program for high achievers) – along with Georgina Duguid, who is studying a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, were the other Honours scholarship recipients from Flinders.

Among the prizes for Playford Trust PhD scholarships were Flinders University’s Kaili Stacey (Nanotechnology), Katie Gates and James Dorey (both Biological Sciences), from the College of Science and Engineering.

Playford Trust Regional Science and Engineering scholarships were presented to incoming Flinders students Gemma Kleinig, from Booleroo Centre District School, and Eliza Watt, from St Mark’s College at Port Pirie. They both plan to study for a Bachelor of Engineering (Robotics) (Honours) / Master of Engineering (Electronics) at Flinders University.

The Fay Fuller Scholarship is dedicated to students who have a passion in improving the public health of SA.

Flinders Professor of Medical Biochemistry Briony Forbes, who chairs the Honours Committee at the College of Medicine and Public Health, says Riya Abraham fostered a strong passion in medical research throughout her undergraduate studies, specifically in the area of women’s reproductive health.

“During Honours, her research will focus on the field of breast cancer and the roles of insulin signalling pathways in this disease,” Professor Forbes says.

“Ultimately the aim of her research is to create more targeted therapies that will help reduce the burden of breast cancer in our society.”

Professor Forbes congratulated Riya and other recipients for their outstanding academic results.

The Playford Trust is a bipartisan organisation formed 35 years ago to honour the memory of Sir Thomas Playford, SA’s longest serving premier who helped to transform the state’s economy.

Former SA premier Dean Brown, who chairs the Playford Memorial Trust, says the annual scholarships aim to encourage and foster skills and research in areas where SA “has the greatest competency and opportunity”.

The “brightest and best” student recipients study in areas including advanced manufacturing and new technologies; water, energy and climate change; mining and resource development; and agriculture, aquaculture and food production.

The scholarships, presented in a special ceremony at the University of SA Allan Scott Auditorium in the city, are supported by all three universities, community partners including Codan, Seeley International and OZ Minerals, foundations, trusts and donors. A second round of awards focusing on outstanding TAFE students will be presented later in the year.

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