Introducing our Education Endowment Fund Scholarship winners for 2019

  • By AusIMM

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 in August 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 2019 winners below.

Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award and Premium Scholarship

Max Donaldson

Max Donaldson – University of Adelaide

Max is beginning his fourth year at the University of Adelaide, studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical)(Honours) with a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry). He believes in building a strong student community and is an executive committee member of the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter and the Chemical Engineering Society.

Max works as a trade assistant during shutdowns on a number of mine sites, and has recently been working at OZ Minerals as a student metallurgist. He is passionate about the industry because he has found it to be full of driven, intelligent professionals who are friendly and always willing to help. Hoping to have a meaningful career as an industry leader, Max champions culture, innovative thinking, value creation, and technical excellence. He believes this will involve learning from the experiences, ideas, and wisdom of others – which is why organisations like AusIMM are so important.

The EEF Premium Scholarship will allow Max to continue enjoying his studies, hobbies and extra-curricular activities in balance with each other. He is also very excited about the included field trip and networking opportunities presented by the scholarship, as he believes it will give his career the best possible start.

Above all, Max is very grateful for the support shown to him by AusIMM, and for the opportunity to represent the organisation as an EEF Premium Scholarship winner.

Premium Scholarships (undergraduate)

Nicholas Anderson – University of Western Australia

Nicholas Anderson

‘I am a final year Master of Professional Mining Engineering student at the University of Western Australia, having previously studied a Bachelor of Science (Engineering) with a second Major of Finance. I have been involved with the UWA Student Chapter of the AusIMM since 2016 and this year I serve as its President.

My motivation in the industry is to work as an executive for a global miner. I want to promote sustainability and responsible corporate governance, removing negative stigmas associated with the mining industry. My key interests in the industry lie in underground mining and finance. I aim to begin my career as a graduate underground mining engineer gaining valuable hands-on experience, helping me fulfil my main motivations.

I am honoured to receive a Premium EEF Scholarship and am excited to make the most out of all the opportunities it offers. Access to a quality mentoring program, career-building opportunities and professional development is an invaluable opportunity. The scholarship will also allow me to focus on my final year of university and AusIMM leadership obligations. For a chapter that has given me so many opportunities I am eager for the chance to give back, supporting younger students entering the industry and pushing to connect UWA alumni with students.

Outside of university and the AusIMM I love the ocean, travelling and the time I get to spend with my friends and family.’

Johanna van Balen – University of Tasmania

Johanna van Balen

‘Growing up in a community where mining was a focus of most households, I always found myself curious about how such an operation worked. I wanted to become a geologist because I wanted to know more about how minerals and metals formed. Studying Earth Sciences at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) has given me so many opportunities, including the ability to be able to apply for an AusIMM scholarship. I am so appreciative and honoured at being selected for this scholarship as it not only allows me to fully commit to my honours year, but also gives me the opportunity to connect with industry professionals, fellow peers and associated personnel. As a young geologist I find all areas of the industry fascinating and I can’t wait to grow my exposure.

I’ve always felt lucky with my experiences given by UTAS, the Tasmanian AusIMM Student Chapter and my fellow UTAS peers. I feel overjoyed at what other experiences lie ahead of me on my pathway to a career in the mining and minerals sector.’

Elyse Bosch – University of Adelaide

Elyse Bosch

‘I am currently undertaking my fourth year of a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Science, majoring in Geology at the University of Adelaide. I hold a position on the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter and was fortunate enough to attend the New Leaders’ Conference and Mining Games in 2018.

As I have progressed through my degrees, the experiences I have had have helped to shape my future path. I have found a growing passion for the minerals industry looking from both a law and geology perspective. I believe that entering the minerals industry with a legal and geological background will enable me to be an asset to a growing industry.

I am extremely grateful to be one of the receivers of the AusIMM EEF Premium Scholarships. Through my engagement with AusIMM I have been fortunate enough to meet like-minded peers with real excitement for the industry. This scholarship will provide me with a mentoring program that will give me a valuable understanding of the minerals industry. I hope to gain insight from experienced professionals on how to best integrate myself professionally into the industry. Not only will I benefit from the industry support through mentoring, but the financial support will be extremely important. The financial support from this scholarship will enable me to branch out from my current casual employment into more valuable work experiences in my desired field. I hope to enter the industry with a large range of experiences and knowledge and I know that with support from AusIMM and the EEF scholarship, I will be a versatile and enthusiastic asset to the minerals sector.’

William Caulfield – Monash University

William Caulfield

‘I am currently in my final year of a Bachelor of Mining Engineering (Honours) at Monash University in Melbourne. The last two years I have been a committee member on the Resources Engineering Student Society at Monash. Since November 2016 I have had work experience at Fosterville Gold Mine gaining both underground/practical and technical knowledge.

Receiving the AusIMM EEF Premium Scholarship is a great honour and I look forward to the opportunities that come with it. The mentoring and field trip associated with the scholarship will allow me to meet inspiring people in the minerals sector and motivate me to learn more about the industry. I like to travel, solve challenging problems and experience new situations, so a career in the mining industry instantly appealed to me. So far, the small exposure I have had already has only excited me more about the prospect of becoming a mining engineer.’

Grace Chiu – University of New South Wales

Grace Chiu

Grace is a third year Mining Engineering/Finance student at the University of New South Wales. She has been the Events Coordinator for the AusIMM Sydney Student Chapter since the beginning of 2018 and has been an AusIMM member since 2017.

Starting from the end of her first year, Grace has spent two summers as a vacation mining engineer: first at Tritton Copper Mine in Nyngan, NSW and then at Ernest Henry Mine in Cloncurry, QLD.

‘Receiving the AusIMM EEF Premium Scholarship is a great honor and I am delighted by the recognition of my passion for the mining industry, leadership ability and drive for success. The scholarship will bring me closer to achieving my career goals and provide invaluable opportunities for self-growth. Absolutely can’t wait to meet my industry mentor and my fellow like-minded peers during the field trip. I am very excited for what lies ahead!’

Cameron Foster – University of Tasmania

Cameron Foster

‘I’m currently completing an industry-based honours project at the University of Tasmania with future aspirations of joining the industry as a geologist. The EEF Scholarship will allow me to gain invaluable exposure to the mining and minerals sector while allowing me to fully dedicate myself to my research. It also provides great opportunity for self-development and guidance with the aid of an experienced professional as a mentor.

Having been a member of AusIMM throughout my undergraduate degree, this scholarship will aid me to continue to connect with industry professionals and build relationships with other motivated students entering the industry.’



Jenna Isacowitz – University of New South Wales

Jenna Isacowitz

‘As a fifth-year mining and civil engineering student, this scholarship will give me a unique advantage in kick starting my career in the minerals industry, through invaluable networking opportunities and exposure to professional mentors. This scholarship is not just an award, but an investment in my future that I will leverage to ensure I succeed and follow my passion for the engineering and minerals sector.’






Sophia Li – University of Adelaide

Sophia Li

Sophia Li is a final year Bachelor of Engineering (Petroleum and Mining) (Honours) student at the University of Adelaide and a committee member of the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter for 2019. Her passion for mining was largely developed through undertaking internships with Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto in the Pilbara region, where she enjoyed both the challenging and exciting working environment onsite, as well as the dynamic lifestyle as a mining engineer. Sophia has developed a particular interest in drill and blast engineering. She is interested in ways of optimise drill and blast designs, to achieve the desired fragmentation results, reduce the complications for the blast crew, while taking into account other aspects such as reducing grade dilution.

Sophia is most excited to be an EEF Scholarship recipient for the support it offers to fulfil her career aspirations in the minerals industry. The scholarship will give her the opportunity to attend an exciting field trip and to build strong connections with professionals and other future leaders of the Australian mining industry. Outside of study Sophia enjoys travelling as she found the different culture experiences truly inspiring. She is hoping to work overseas at some stage of her career, to appreciate how mining operations varies in different regions and the different mindset and methods of approaching a problem.

Rocco Marzano – University of Wollongong

Rocco Marzano.

‘It is an honour to be recognised by AusIMM through becoming a recipient of the EEF scholarship. In addition to the prestige of this award, this scholarship also provides me with two fantastic opportunities that I might otherwise not have. The first opportunity is the experience that I will gain through attending the one-week field trip, providing insight into the operations of several mines.

The second major opportunity that will come through this scholarship, is the access I will have to a mentor. While mentors are an extension of a network, they’re also able to provide invaluable industry knowledge in a one-on-one environment, as well as some added guidance to help achieve career goals.

I’ve held a strong passion for the mining industry since I was young, which was a result of my grandfather working in underground coal mines, and I’m hoping that this this scholarship can put me another step closer to becoming a leader within the industry.

I’m currently in my final year at the University of Wollongong, completing a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil/Mining), (Honours). This year I’ll be starting my thesis, where I’ll be looking at the optimisation of highwalls and low-walls with BHP Coal. As an undergraduate, I’ve spent time expanding my practical knowledge through internships and part time work. Over the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to work with the geotechnical team at BHP Coal, in the Sydney tunnels on WestConnex, and most recently with the Mine Development A&I team at Olympic Dam, BHP. Moving forward, I hope to have an active role within the AusIMM in my local branch and with the organisation as a whole for several years to come.’

Isabela Protacio – University of New South Wales

Isabela Protacio

Isabela is in her final year of a Bachelor of Mining Engineering (Honours) at UNSW. She is co-founder and president for mining of the UNSW Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering Society and is on the committee of the AusIMM Sydney Student Chapter.

In 2016, Isabela was awarded the UNSW Co-op Scholarship, which allowed her to work at CMOC’s Northparkes Mines during the summer holidays and gave her access to extensive professional training at university. At Northparkes, she has cumulatively completed six months of underground work gaining a thorough understanding of all fixed and mobile plant systems. Further along the track, Isabela conducted diesel particulate monitoring underground and was tasked to create drill and charge plans for the sublevel cave, drawing upon her underground experience.

Isabela aims to commence a graduate program in hard-rock mining in 2020 and looks to further her underground experience. Given her strong interest in operations, she aims to work in a senior role onsite, with a focus on day-to-day activities. She plans to work with AusIMM throughout her career to encourage students to work in the mining industry. The EEF Scholarship will be of great value to Isabela, particularly the mentoring and the field trip. She believes this will her to diversify her experience within the mining industry and broaden her professional network.

James Rooke – University of Wollongong

James Rooke

‘As the resources industry moves forward into the 21st century we are faced with many challenges. Demand for resources are pushing mines into more remote areas, deeper depths and harsher environments. Simultaneously, the focus on safety and welfare of employees is more prevalent than ever. These 21st century problems require 21st century solutions. Enabling mines with process automation, remote control and fully autonomous systems is the perfect modern answer to drive our industry into the future. The widespread benefits of these technological advancements extend to our community, the environment, shareholders and employees by creating a safer, more efficient and more profitable industry.

As a mechatronic engineer I am focused on developing these solutions and bringing them to the forefront of our industry. With a background in machine automation in the steelmaking sector I have developed an interest in mobile equipment automation and development of autonomous systems. The application of this technology in the mining industry is unlimited and has already become a reality as seen with the operational gains and success of autonomous haulage systems. As interconnectivity between machines and control systems is a requirement of automation, the benefits of bulk data sharing become possible. As part of the ‘Industry 4.0′ trend this data can be used to monitor and model many facets of the industry. Examples include mapping a mine, detecting dangerous geological conditions and monitoring mine productivity and health.

The AusIMM EEF scholarship affords me the opportunity to propel myself into the mining and metallurgy industry and gain expose to the systems of the future, further encouraging my passion for automation. With access to industry contacts and valuable site exposure I can develop my personal and professional attributes and supplement my knowledge of a rapidly changing industry.’

Brayden Sturm – University of Adelaide

Brayden Sturm

Brayden is currently in the fourth year of his double degree: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Chemical) with Bachelor of Finance at the University of Adelaide. Brayden has a strong passion for the minerals industry and as the Chemical Engineering Liaison Officer to the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter, he has constantly displayed a desire to expose more chemical engineering students to the mining industry.

Brayden has also had the opportunity to gain experience with Santos as a Process Engineer in the Cooper Basin Technical Engineering Department and with Ixom Water Treatment Services as a Project Engineer. He has also broadened his understanding of the importance of engineering, by volunteering with Engineers Without Borders both in Nepal and in regional South Australia.

Brayden is motivated by the rapid innovation in the minerals industry, he aims to use this fantastic opportunity to further expand his knowledge of minerals processing and metallurgical plant design. Brayden has always dreamed of a career where he can make a real difference and he hopes to gain further experience in an operational metallurgist role before graduation.

Brayden has truly enjoyed his time so far with the AusIMM, where he has met many outstanding members of the mining community, who have always been available for advice and support. He is thrilled with the opportunities the AusIMM EEF Premium Scholarship will bring, especially the field trip and extensive mentoring program. Brayden is keen to represent the AusIMM to the utmost of his ability and is excited to see what the future holds as an upcoming leader in the mining industry.

Thomas Taylor – University of Queensland

Thomas Taylor

Tom is completing his final year towards a dual Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Queensland (UQ) and is motivated towards combining technical excellence with effective management in a large-scale operation.

During his degree, Tom has been able to establish his knowledge through employment as a metallurgical technician at IHC Robbins and summer placement at Rio Tinto. He has also demonstrated capability as a leader through the safety director role at UQ Space.

Within the mining community, Tom is an active member of the executive committees for the local AusIMM chapter and university mining association which has allowed him to gain unique viewpoints from field professionals and promote the industry.

As well as having a passion for technical problem solving, Tom aspires to becoming a pioneer by engaging with the social and economic challenges that mining faces through its advocation and management during market cycles.

Receiving the EEF scholarship enables Tom to further develop his professional network by speaking at AusIMM events and learn about the current opportunities within the minerals industry through the mentorship that the award provides.

Premium Scholarships (postgraduate)

Ross Chandler (PhD Scholarship) – Australian National University

Ross Chandler

Ross is a first year PhD student in geology at the Australian National University. He is investigating the formation of rare metal (Zr, Nb and rare earth element) deposits in peralkaline systems using a variety of field and experimental techniques. He is primarily interested in the behaviour of trace elements during the extreme fractionation of alkaline suites and using this to both better understand these unusual systems as well as assist in the search for economic mineralisation within them.

Ross is a former undergraduate Education Endowment Fund (EEF) recipient, having completed a Bachelor of Geology (Honours) at James Cook University with first class honours and University Medal in mid-2018. Rare metal prospects he discovered in central Queensland during his undergraduate research are currently being explored for their economic potential, and he begins his PhD studies after an extended period of rare metal exploration across eastern Australia. He completed vacation work with South32 at Cannington in 2018 and is passionate about bridging the gap between academia and industry. He’s highly optimistic about the future of the minerals industry in Australia and feels it is well positioned to continue to flourish in a high-tech and environmentally conscious future.

Sophia Casanova (supplementary PhD Scholarship) – University of New South Wales

Sophia Casanova

Sophia Casanova is currently undertaking her PhD research at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) within the School of Minerals and Energy Resources. Her research areas of interest are in resource prospectivity and geological uncertainty modelling, with a specific focus on evaluating the economic potential of off-Earth water ice deposits on the Moon and Mars. This is a research area of growing interest within the space sector as the industry looks for low-cost energy solutions to meet expected future in-space market demands. Sophia received her bachelor’s degree with first class honours in geology at the University of Sydney. She has worked as a resource modeler for the coal consultancy firm Marston & Marston and as oil and gas field development geologist for Santos. Sophia is currently interning at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena in the United States and is on the board of directors for the National Space Society of Australia (NSSA).

Ghulam Ali Hussaini (supplementary PhD Scholarship) – University of South Australia

Ghulam Ali Hussaini

Ali is currently in the second year of his PhD studies. His current research is to evaluate static (flow) liquefaction failure of tailings to prevent failures at the University of South Australia. His project involves working with Australian gold tailings material, evaluating the behaviour of tailings material under static loading conditions. Ali is incorporating Critical State Soil Mechanics (CSSM) in conjunction with Unsaturated Soil Mechanics to develop a unified framework to better understand the behaviour of tailings. In particular, the research aim is to advance knowledge on tailings dams failures due to static liquefaction. A topic which has gained much attention recently, due to an increase in tailings dams failures. Ultimately the research helps the industry to manage/understand the operations of tailings dams and to prevent static liquefaction failure.

Ali has profound leadership qualities. He represented the student council for two years during his undergraduate studies. He has over five years of experience working in some of Australia’s major projects such as the Wheatstone Project (Onslow) and the Nammuldi Below Water Table Project (Tom Price). Ali’s research passion stems from working to develop sustainable, eco-friendly and cost-effective mining operations.

In his spare time, Ali explores the wonderful beaches in remote areas of Australia. He loves the coastal natural landscape and fishing.




Share This Article