Outstanding STEM students win awards

Jody Playford Trust winner
Jody Fisher, from the School of Biological Sciences and Flinders Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM), won a Playford Trust PhD Scholarship this week.

Flinders PhD candidates Jody Fisher and Olivia Davies have won 2016 Playford Memorial Trust scholarships.

They join five Flinders honours students and three Regional Science and Engineering scholarships presented at a special ceremony on 26 April.

The Playford Trust provides prestigious scholarships and awards for high-achieving South Australians.

“This year’s field of applicants was exceptionally strong, leading to the Trust extending the number of scholarships awarded, thanks to partnerships with the leading universities,” said Playford Trust chairman, former premier Dean Brown.

“PhD scholarships have doubled this year and we have been able to award six Regional Science and Engineering scholarships, helping more students in regional areas to locate to Adelaide to undertake university studies,” he said.

High-achieving Faculty of Science and Engineering PhD candidate Jody Fisher was described as “an outstanding student with an exceptional breadth of talent”.

The record-breaking free diver, classical musician and high-achieving scholar presented at the Microscale Ocean Biophysics Conference in Aspen, USA and will prepare another presentation on her Honours project at this year’s biophysics conference in Israel.

Jody is using mathematical models and graph theory to develop network models to help aquatic and agricultural industries in many ways, including remediating groundwater and optimising wine production.

Olivia Davies is completing a PhD at the School of Biological Sciences in “an extremely puzzling mitochondrial anomaly” in Amphylaeus morosus, a native Australian bee.

She received a Flinders University-Playford Trust PhD scholarship after receiving an “extraordinary grade for this very challenging honours project” and publishing and presenting at three research conferences on a topic expected to attract international attention.

Playford Trust Honours Scholarships were presented to Tenzin Crouch (who recently won the Engineers Australia SA Craig Gilbert Leadership Award), Liam Howard-Fabretto, Benjamin McCarl and Robert Trott.

Elizabeth Bennett, who is studying a Bachelor of Clinical Sciences, won the Fay Fuller-Playford Trust Honours Scholarship in Health Science.

The Regional Science and Engineering Scholarships for Flinders undergraduate students went to Bradley Martin (from Naracoorte High School), Jai Meyers (from Edward John Eyre High, Whyalla) and Laura Schroder (from Keith Area School).

Named in honour of South Australia’s longest-serving premier, the Playford Memorial Trust honours Sir Thomas Playford’s legacy, which was marked by a period of population and economic growth unmatched by any other Australian State.

Scholarship awards are made to students studying in areas that benefit South Australia and include undergraduates, residential, honours and PhD students. The Trust provides about 50 scholarships and awards each year with a total value of about $350,000.

The Playford Trust partners with many of the State’s leading corporate and private philanthropists and the State Government to fund the scholarship program, which has shown significant benefit in enabling research and skills development to advance areas of strategic importance for South Australia, including:

  • Agriculture and food production
  • Water, energy and climate change
  • Advanced manufacturing and new technologies
  • Mining and resources development
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