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Introducing our 2024 Education Endowment Fund Scholarship Recipients

ยท 2000 words, 8 min read

Every year the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) Board of Trustees award the annual EEF Scholarships, including the prestigious Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award and EEF Premium Scholarships.

The application process starts the previous year and students from all over Australia who are studying a minerals-related degree are encouraged to apply. The core theme of the EEF program is to identify future industry leaders among AusIMM’s student members and ensure they are offered meaningful opportunities to develop professionally over the course of their scholarship.

Meet our 2024 recipients below.

Postgraduate Research Scholarship

Dana Imbrogno – PhD – University of Adelaide (Adelaide Branch member)

After completing her undergraduate degree in Mineral Geoscience at The University of Adelaide, Dana made the decision to continue her study through a PhD within the Tectonics and Earth Systems research group. Working within the McArthur Linkage team, her research area is within the Batten Fault Zone, McArthur Basin, using sedimentary geochemistry and geochronology to unravel basin processes. This project involves close collaboration with industry partners, such as Teck Resources and the Northern Territory Geological Survey and the interdisciplinary approach adopted is crucial to addressing real-world challenges in the minerals sector.

Dana has previously received the Playford Trust/Cooper Energy Honours Geoscience Scholarship in 2022 and the AusIMM Adelaide Branch Auxiliary Book Prize for 2021. She has been actively involved in university and professional societies, serving as the Adelaide University Geological Society Treasurer in 2021 and a member of the local AusIMM Student chapter. Dana has thoroughly enjoyed opportunities to engage with other students and mentors and looks forward to all future doors the EEF Scholarship opens. Her passion for contributing to the discovery and understanding of sedimentary hosted deposits in Australia, coupled with her anticipation of a long career in the minerals industry, reflects her enthusiasm for making meaningful contributions to the field.

Undergraduate – Premium Scholarships

Thomas Aquilina – University of New South Wales – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Mining) (Sydney Branch member)

Thomas is an aspiring young professional in the third year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) (Hons) at UNSW. As he neared the end of high school, Thomas was unsure of the next step in his education and chose to study Mining Engineering after a discussion with his grandfather, who had worked as an electrical engineer on mine sites. While this decision was made in some haste, it is not regretted.

The interest in the mining sector was accelerated for Thomas with a placement at Bengalla Mining Company, a fast-paced open-cut coal mine where he was given the opportunity to develop technical and professional skills from workmates who were eager teachers and mentors. During this placement, Thomas was captivated by the unique problems which presented daily and it was this experience that informed his appreciation for the innovative mindset of his colleagues – the mantra “no two days in mining are ever the same” continues to ring true. This early experience helped Thomas to better understand and appreciate his passion for all things geology, being fascinated by the intricate way an area's geological setting drives mine planning.

In the future, Thomas is eager to further study Geotechnical Engineering and opportunities to foster safer work practices in industry while taking advantage of opportunities provided by the Institute to expand industry connections and nurture his leadership ambitions.

Timothy Blyzno – University of Adelaide – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours(Chemical)/Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) (Adelaide Branch Member)

Timothy is a fourth year Chemical Engineering (Honours) and Biotechnology student at the University of Adelaide who is driven by a passion for creating innovative solutions to complex challenges, particularly those pertaining to sustainability and decarbonisation. Recognising the pivotal role mining plays in shaping a green future, he is excited by the prospect of developing the innovative technology required to support the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors such as mining.

While not initially intending to pursue a career in mining, Tim was introduced to the industry in 2023 through a chemical engineering representative role within the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter. The insight gained through engagement with the AusIMM over the past year has alerted Timothy to the industry opportunities available locally and globally and this combined with conference attendance and industry connection, has provided him with invaluable perspectives. As the 2024 AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter President, Timothy hope to share these perspectives and promote the opportunities available within mining amongst his local university community. 

Timothy is currently completing summer vacation work through the CSIRO, investigating the use of bioenergy to decarbonise iron and steelmaking; a project which has reinforced his passion for exploring new technology within the industry. Looking to the future, Timothy is keen to pursue further work experience opportunities, particularly prospects which might combine aspects of chemical engineering with his fascination for biotechnology by exploring the applications of industrial microbiology within the mining and resources sector.

Francis Burt – Curtin University – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mining) (Kalgoorlie Branch Member)

Francis (or ‘Frank’) initially began studies in Civil Engineering and Business Management in 2020, before a persistent friend convinced him to make the switch to Mining in 2021, and he hasn’t looked back. Frank is currently in his final year of studies at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) and is loving the unique experiences of life in Kalgoorlie. Growing up on a cattle station on the Gascoyne coast, boarding school beckoned from a young age, which provided great opportunities to learn and form lifelong friendships. Frank is your ‘typical kid from the bush’, enjoying a hard day’s work, tinkering with all things mechanical and indulging in a bit of backyard cricket. Frank loves working with his hands and mind, which is part of what makes mining such a unique and exciting industry.

Frank is currently working underground with Develop Global, at the Bellevue Gold Project, a new and exciting mine at the forefront of evolving technologies and modern practices, providing a state-of-the-art learning experience. Concurrently, he is the president of the WASM Wombats, a highly regarded and equally successful Intercollegiate Mining Games club, Secretary and Treasurer of the WASM Guild and General Committee Member of the AusIMM Kalgoorlie Student Chapter.

Alexandra Egan – University of Queensland – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering) (Southern Queensland Branch)

Alexandra is a fourth-year student at the University of Queensland pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) with a focus on Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering. She has a strong passion for metallurgy and a desire to make a lasting impact in the mining industry. Throughout university, Alexandra has engaged in leadership positions within student societies, demonstrating her commitment to creating a supportive environment in engineering. As a Women in Engineering Student Leader and previous academic officer for then Chemical Engineering Student Society UQ, she has worked to establish positive culture within engineering at UQ. Alexandra has recently been appointed the role of the Mining and Metallurgy Association UQ’s Metallurgy Officer where she hopes to create more connections between mining and metallurgy students and industry.

Her practical experience as a Vacation Student in Metallurgy at MMG’s Dugald River Site and Oz Minerals Carrapateena site has allowed Alexandra to apply her knowledge in real-world settings. She gained invaluable experiences by contributing to the day to day operations as well as focussing on longer term projects to improve the performance of the flotation circuits in the plants. This site experience has reaffirmed her passion for metallurgy and working in the mining industry. Experiencing the intersection of theory and practice has solidified her belief in the pivotal role metallurgy plays in the industry's sustainable development.

Beyond university, Alexandra volunteers weekly at FareShare, preparing meals for those facing food insecurity. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach and spending time outdoors.

Henry Hall – University of Queensland – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Civil Engineering) (Southern Queensland Branch member)

Drawn to the resources sector in high school by programs run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), Henry recognised the direct impact he could have as a mining engineer - ensuring that the benefits of mining extend beyond the life of an asset itself, so that operations have a net positive impact on the natural environment, climate change, and social capital.

In his first and second years of university, Henry heavily engaged with the AusIMM Southern Queensland Student Chapter and the UQ Mining and Metallurgy Association, holding committee roles on each. Through these student societies Henry has had the opportunity to develop himself professionally in addition to participating in the AusIMM’s New Leaders Summit and National Mining Games. While at university, Henry has enjoyed three vacation placements across a range of different commodities in operational and technical roles with Barminco, South32 and BHP. This has empowered him to expand his skillsets as a mining engineer and solidify his passion for the industry.

In 2024, Henry will enter his third year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) majoring in Mining at the University of Queensland. He has recently been elected as President of the UQ Mining and Metallurgy Association and looks forward to delivering over 40 events over the course of 2024 with its dedicated executive committee alongside leading two teams to the 46th Intercollegiate Mining Games held in Montana, USA.

Lauren Harding – University of Western Australia – Masters in Professional Engineering (Mining) (Perth Branch member)

Lauren Harding is currently in the final year of her Masters in Professional Mining Engineering at the University of Western Australia, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Mining Engineering in 2022. She was previously recognised for her academic success by the Epiroc Engineering scholarship in 2021. Lauren is focused on pursuing a career in underground hard rock mining.

Concurrently with her studies, she has held positions with BHP - Nickel West, off siding development drills at Cliffs mine and working to manage draw control at the Leinster block cave, Epiroc, as part of their haulage automation team, and most recently, IGO, at their Nova operation gaining experience in production. She served as an executive committee member on the AusIMM UWA Student Chapter in 2022 and 2023, successfully working to connect students with industry opportunities and remains on the committee for 2024. Lauren is also an appointed Ambassador for the AusIMM New Professionals Network and was selected to be on the ‘Get Into Resources’ committee for 2024, a non for profit organization that showcases the opportunities available in the resource sector to high school students.

Outside of her studies, Lauren competes in mining games, including the 2023 Internationals. She also enjoys hiking, camping, and surf boat rowing.

Braydon Haskett – University of Wollongong – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Mining Engineering) (Illawarra Branch Member)

In 2024 Braydon will be entering the fourth year of study in the Bachelor of Mining Engineering (Honours) at the University of Wollongong. Braydon’s initial interest in the resources industry was piqued by the opportunity to work on large scale projects of significant technical depth. This combined with the local and international travel and work opportunities cemented his interest and course choice. Braydon commenced his membership of the Institute in the first year of his degree studies and was also fortunate enough to secure vacation work with Glencore. From this point, the large world of mining opened up and in each year since Braydon has been able to continue accruing valuable work experience working for Glencore, Barminco and Simec. These collective experiences have illustrated university learnings, provided a broad understanding of the industry and helped cement a passion for underground mining.

In three short years Braydon has worked in a number of different locations, including the Hunter Valley, Illawarra, and the NSW central west. During this time Braydon considers his local AusIMM Branch has been instrumental in supporting his learning and industry networking. Braydon is continuing his work with the Illawarra student chapter as the sponsorship coordinator and looks forward to furthering his development as a well-rounded mining professional.

Maya Koizumi-Smith - University of Tasmania – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Civil)/Bachelor of Science (Earth Science) (Tasmania Branch Member)

In 2024 Maya will be completing the final year of her course at the University of Tasmania following a summer of FIFO vacation work with BHP at Prominent Hill as a member of the Geotech team. Maya’s interest in geotechnical engineering stems from past work experiences and her interest in mining was encouraged by friends and attendance at AusIMM events where exposure to the industry cemented her interest. May enjoys the FIFO lifestyle and has supplemented this experience by enjoying long weekends exploring Adelaide and surrounds. Maya is a member of the Engineering Engagement Team at UTAS and works with primary and secondary students to showcase engineering and career opportunities. Maya also works with the Student Association as an Equity Experience Leader. As a recipient of an EEF Scholarship Maya looks forward to the opportunity to share her experiences and inspire others to pursue a career in the industry.

Nathaniel Lucas – University of Western Australia – Masters of Professional Engineering (Mining) (Perth Branch member)

Nathaniel has recently completed his third year at the University of Western Australia, studying a Bachelor of Science, specialising in Mining & Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation he is undertaking further study, gaining a Master of Professional Engineering majoring in Mining Engineering. He loves studying a mining-related degree as it is a technically challenging discipline that requires the need for constant innovative solutions. In addition to his studies, Nathaniel has worked within both open-pit and underground mining environments, where currently he is working at Rio Tinto within their Tom Price operations located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia extending and further developing his knowledge as a mining engineer. It was in his second year of studies that Nathaniel became heavily involved with the AusIMM UWA Student Chapter, as a member of the General Committee, overseeing management of the chapter, while fostering connections among peers and industry professionals. For the upcoming 2024 year, he has taken the position of External Events Coordinator as part of the Executive Committee where he hopes to continue to encourage and inspire involvement by more students while also continuing to make meaningful contributions to the sector.

Jordan Liu – Curtin University – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Metallurgical)/Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) (Kalgoorlie Branch Member)

Jordan is about to embark on the fifth year of a double degree in Metallurgical Engineering and Finance at the WASM in Kalgoorlie. Since his first year of study, Jordan has been fortunate to have undertaken a variety of vacation and casual work experiences including Northern Star's Jundee Mine, AngloGold Ashanti's Tropicana Mine, FMG's Christmas Creek Mine, Bureau Veritas Minerals Labs and most recently at Iluka Resource's Narngulu Mineral Separation Plant. Jordan enjoys the variety of experience offered through metallurgy and ore processing with each site displaying its own characteristics, and this combined with his exposure to the different careers and people within the industry, has enhanced his learning and professional development. Post graduation, Jordan hopes to work as a metallurgist in a challenging ore processing environment, as he believes it is this environment which will enable him to learn the most and maximise the contribution he is able to make. Outside of university Jordan enjoys playing basketball and keeping fit through regular visits to the gym.

Sophia Minter – University of Tasmania – Bachelor of Marine & Antarctic Science (Earth Science & Marine Biology) (Tasmania Branch member)

Sophia is a third year student studying a double degree in Geology and Marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania. Through her studies, she has taken a keen interest in geological mapping, and how her geology units connect to her love of Marine and Antarctic science. She has been an active member in the AusIMM Tasmania Student Chapter since the commencement of her degree, and has recently taken up the position of the Secretary for the chapter. Sophia has demonstrated her passion for field-based Earth Sciences through winning the 2023 Dr Garry Davidson Memorial Prize, which is attributed to the best student on the second year field trip in Earth Sciences, proving her abilities by getting the best average grade over 9 assessments during the trip. Sophia is currently working for Focus Minerals in Coolgardie as a Geology Vacation student, where she has learnt and developed skills in areas of mining and exploration geology. This experience has left her determined to pursue a career within the industry.

‘I am eager to actively pursue leadership opportunities and excited to make the most out of the professional development opportunities AusIMM and this scholarship will provide, expanding my knowledge through both academic and industrial avenues’.

Ashley Potter – University of New South Wales – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Mining) (Sydney Branch member)

Ashley has recently completed the second year of Mining Engineering (Honours) at UNSW, and has been involved with the AusIMM since the beginning of 2022 as a part of the AusIMM Sydney Student Chapter. The AusIMM community has been an incredible introduction to the mining industry for Ashley, taking her across Australia on field trips, conferences and as a competitor in the National Mining Games. In 2024 Ashley is President of the AusIMM SSC, as well as a Sydney Branch Member, and both positions have enabled her to contribute actively within the Sydney community.

Ashley was initially drawn to a career in the mining industry by the opportunity to solve complex engineering problems while applying technical knowledge in a hands-on, dynamic environment. Over the last summer break Ashley completed a vacation program at Lady Loretta in QLD, gaining underground experience in an operational role. Over the last year Ashley has worked in a part time capacity for Evolution Mining as an undergraduate mining engineer in the Sydney head office within the Mining and Geotechnical Group. This has been a valuable opportunity which has not only complemented university studies but also exposed her to working across a multidisciplinary team. Over the 2023/2024 summer vacation Ashley has been working on-site at Cowal Operations with Evolution Mining in a production engineering role. Ashley is committed to advocating for and sharing the industry with younger students. As a Mining Engineering ambassador for UNSW, Ashley has been able to share her passion for the mining industry with high school students, sharing her own personal experiences in the hope that this will encourage young women particularly to explore a career in mining. Ashley hopes to continue to showcase the diverse opportunities available in the industry.

Nathan Robinson - University of Wollongong– Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mining Engineering) (Illawarra branch member)

Nathan is in the third year of a Bachelor of Mining Engineering at the University of Wollongong, a study choice informed by his love of engineering. In his first year of study Nathan secured a mining engineering cadetship with South32 amongst their Illawarra Metallurgical coal operation. Since launching his career in underground coal, Nathan has relished the learning opportunities the minerals industry has offered. Working operational and staff roles since that time has provided valuable insight into different perspectives of underground operations, and aligned with his ambitions of strengthening and developing both his technical and leadership skills to enhance his performance as a leader within the industry. Away from the intricacies of mining, Nathan is a renowned ocean swimmer including having won a national Australian surf swim title. He has currently taken a step back from an elite training schedule to hone in his industry ambitions. Despite this Nathan retains a great attachment to the sport of surf life saving. Nathan is looking forward to capitalising on his new found involvement within the AusIMM Illawarra Student Chapter, including, advocating industry pathways via various initiatives in collaboration with the NSW minerals council. “I am extremely grateful to have been awarded this scholarship and am eager to broaden my industry mindset via the opportunities entailed within the EEF scholarship award”.

Kiran Shankaran – University of Adelaide – Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Mathematical & Computer Sciences (Adelaide Branch member)

Kiran is in his second year pursuing a double degree in Mining Engineering (Honours) and Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the University of Adelaide. His initial attraction to the resources sector stemmed from recognizing its substantial contribution to the Australian economy and the appealing opportunities to work in remote areas worldwide. During university breaks, Kiran has worked as a vacation student, gaining hands-on experience in underground hard rock mining operations at Sunrise Dam Gold Mine with Barminco and office-based exposure at BHP’s Prominent Hill site. This practical involvement has deepened his passion for underground mining, and he hopes to accumulate extensive on-site experience to become a well-rounded mining engineer. Additionally, Kiran serves as the Secretary for the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter, actively participating in various events, including the National Mining Games, New Leaders Summit, and other mining-related conferences. These experiences have provided him with valuable insights into the challenges within the resources sector and exceptional learning and development opportunities. Kiran is honoured for being chosen as one of the recipients of the AusIMM EEF Scholarship and he looks forward to the mentorship and field trip, viewing them as invaluable components of his journey toward becoming a proficient mining professional.

Madison Styles – James Cook University – Bachelor of Geology (Honours) (North Queensland Branch member)

Madison is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Geology with Honours at James Cook University. Over the past two years, she has been actively engaged with the North Queensland Student Chapter holding the position of Vice President for 2024 while also a member of the North Queensland Branch committee. Madison has a passion for facilitating connections between industry professionals and students in North Queensland, sharing her AusIMM and industry experience to inspire other students to explore career opportunities in the resources sector. Madison is a science student mentor at JCU which enables her to connect new students with industry relevant career paths. Madison’s resources industry career began with vacation work at Ravenswood Gold during the 2022-2023 summer break. This experience led to a casual position within the Exploration team, which has expanded her knowledge of the industry and cemented her passion for exploration geology. Throughout her studies Madison has fostered a significant interest in critical minerals and this is evidenced in her honours project which has a focus on gold mineralisation and ore deposit genesis. Her dedication to the field of geology combined with the prospect of contributing to the industry in the future, drives Madison’s academic and professional pursuits.

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