Introducing our 2020 Education Endowment Fund Scholarship recipients

  • 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 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 2020 recipients below.

Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award and Premium Scholarship

Siân Baynham – University of Newcastle

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Siân Baynham is a final year Chemical Engineering student from the University of Newcastle. Siân is passionate about leadership and giving back to the community, demonstrated through her roles on the executive committees of the AusIMM Newcastle Student Chapter and the Chemical Engineering Society and extensive volunteer work throughout her time at university.

Siân works as a Technical Officer at the CSIRO and as a Research Assistant at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, with a focus on improving efficiencies and reducing the water and energy requirements for the separation of copper and iron ore. She is enthusiastic about the industry and the wealth of opportunity that it offers, both in Australia and internationally. Having spent time in Sweden, France and Timor-Leste as part of her studies, Siân is determined to make a positive difference wherever her career takes her.

Siân is honoured to be one of awardees of the Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award and is confident that this will provide her with the tools to create a solid foundation for her career. Siân is incredibly grateful for all of these opportunities and is looking forward to giving back to the AusIMM for many years to come.

Michael Phillips – University of Adelaide

Michael is in his final year at the University of Adelaide studying a Double Degree in Chemical Engineering and Finance. He has developed a strong passion for the resources industry, which began when he attended a plant tour of BHP Olympic Dam. Michael has enjoyed vacation work with Iluka Resources in mineral sands as well as Evolution Mining at Lake Cowal. The on-site experiences and exposure to key unit operations, such as grinding, flotation and leaching, has furthered his understanding of the ‘mine to product’ process.

Michael is humbled to receive an EEF Premium Scholarship and to be one of two winners of the Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award for 2020. The opportunities presented through the scholarship will assist in pursuing his desire to be a future leader in the resources industry. Michael’s career aspirations include being a senior metallurgist and processing manager whilst having exposure to both safety and project management roles. Michael is looking forward to transitioning from university into the mining industry and is thankful to the AusIMM for the significant role it has played in helping him get this far.  

EEF Premium Scholarships (undergraduate)

Lucy Barrie – University of New South Wales

Lucy Barrie is a mining engineering student at the University of New South Wales. Lucy has been involved in the AusIMM through the Sydney Student Chapter since 2017 and is now its President, as well as being on the Sydney Branch Committee and the student representative for the WIMnet NSW committee.

During her summer breaks, Lucy has undertaken vacation work with Glencore Copper in Mount Isa, working on projects across their mining and technical services teams. While at university, Lucy has worked with the Faculty of Engineering’s School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering (MERE), running workshops and secondary school outreach activities. Through this she has actively promoted engineering to young females in the hope that they might consider a career in the resources industry. Lucy was inspired to pursue Mining Engineering after participating in the UNSW’s Women in Engineering Camp in 2018, and now participates as a leader.

Lucy is very appreciative of the opportunity the EEF scholarship will provide to support and balance her studies, extracurricular and work commitments, and engage with equally motivated and likeminded students.

Mitchell Dawson – University of Wollongong

Mitchell is a final year Bachelor of Civil and Mining Engineering student at the University of Wollongong. He is a diligent student who is actively involved in the AusIMM Illawarra Student Chapter and University Mining Society, where he holds the position of Vice President. Mitchell is looking forward to commencing his career in the mining and minerals industry on the completion of his course.

During his degree studies, Mitchell has been a Thiess scholarship recipient, and completed work experience in both New South Wales and Queensland mineral-rich regions. He is currently furthering this experience by completing an industry-based honours project on blast vibration prediction and analysis. He had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda, Africa in 2018 with a team of other undergraduate students to assist with humanitarian engineering projects for marginalised communities.

‘I am most grateful to be a recipient of the EEF scholarship, as it provides me with a leading step towards my future career with the capacity to make industry contacts, along with the ability to interact with other young leaders and professionals within the mining and minerals industry. I am most interested in utilising this experience to encourage others to foster an interest in the minerals industry, and more importantly assist myself with the transition into a full-time career as a future leader in this field.’

Ruby Fritz – University of Queensland

‘I am completing my final year of a dual degree in mechanical engineering and geology at the University of Queensland, with a passion for geology and being outdoors that has grown from my love of rock climbing. A core value of mine is sustainability, and I am interested in pursuing a career that explores ways of making methods more efficient and minimising impacts through sustainable long-term planning. I am currently undertaking my honours project with the Sustainable Minerals Institute on the geometallurgical characterisation of mine tailings to determine an effective method of bioleaching cobalt.

‘My experience in the mining industry ranges from modelling conveyor systems, to underground geotech and open-cut mine geology; next I hope to gain skills in exploration for critical minerals. I am extremely grateful for the networking opportunities and mentorship that I will have the opportunity to pursue through the AusIMM EEF scholarship, and look forward to being involved with the AusIMM as a student representative on the Social and Environment Society Committee and throughout my career.’

Tristram Fyfe – University of Adelaide

Tristram is beginning the final year of a double degree that combines a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) and a Bachelor of Finance while serving as the Sponsorship Officer of the AusIMM Adelaide Student Chapter committee. Tristram believes in green and socially responsible mining, and his career goal is to work as a metallurgist in a multi-disciplinary team to deliver value for all stakeholders across the minerals processing chain. He has been inspired by industry leaders who have been able to break down barriers between departments in their operations, and he hopes to work collaboratively with others in his own career.

Tristram just completed an internship with Northern Star Resources in their Kalgoorlie operations, and currently works with OZ Minerals as a student metallurgist. He is passionate about working in the mining industry, which he has found to be full of friendly and encouraging individuals who are always willing to help.  

Receiving the EEF Premium Scholarship is an honour that will enable Tristram to focus on his final year studies and AusIMM commitments. He hopes to give back to the student community at his university by building relationships between year levels, and promoting career, volunteering and scholarship opportunities so that other students may maximise their experience.

Sam Gogolewski – University of New South Wales

‘Since enrolling in a dual Mining/Civil Engineering degree at UNSW I have been fortunate to benefit from the many opportunities afforded to students that engage in the minerals industry and have become confident that I am well suited to a career in mining.

‘Participating in several field trips, accessing professional development opportunities and completing challenging and relevant course work are just some of the highlights of my time as a mining engineering student. I have also been fortunate to complete summer internships across thermal coal, copper and gold commodities in three different states, already working toward fulfilling one of my early career goals.

‘I see my current work as a student ambassador for mining engineering as an early opportunity for me to give back to the industry for the opportunities I have been afforded. I became a student member of AusIMM in my second year of university and have already benefitted immensely from joining. My student membership has allowed me to establish professional networks, especially through Sydney Branch events and AusIMM conferences. My experiences as past Chair and Vice-Chair of the Sydney Student Chapter have helped develop my organisational and leadership abilities, which I hope to be able to build on and employ in the future.

‘I look forward to completing my final year of university and beginning full-time work as an associate member of the AusIMM, while I work toward attaining my WA First-Class Mine Manager’s Certificate.’

Lily Kendall – Curtin University

‘I am currently in my third year of a Bachelor of Mining Engineering (Honours) at the Western Australian School of Mines (Curtin University). I have grown up around mining as both my parents are geologists, so I decided very early on that I wanted to have a career in mining and subsequently it has become something I am very passionate about.

‘Over the last three summers I have completed vacation work in the Matilda gold mine for Blackham Resources, where I worked in the open pit, and for Independence Group in the underground Nova nickel mine. Over this most recent summer I worked at Mt Morgan’s gold operations for Dacian gold where I worked in both the open pit and underground. These experiences have refined my desire to work in an underground mine in the future.

‘The EEF scholarship will provide me with opportunities to not only expand my network of peers who share a passion for the industry but also learn from industry professionals through the mentoring program.’

Vincent Lang – University of Western Australia

Vincent Lang is a final year Master of Professional Engineering student in Mining Engineering at the University of Western Australia. Vincent holds a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Finance and Engineering Science (Mining Engineering). Vincent commenced his AusIMM UWA Chapter journey in 2019 as the Secretary and he is currently the Chapter’s President.

Vincent has completed work experience in both the financial sector and in mining – in underground gold in Kalgoorlie, and open pit mining with Rio Tinto during his summer vacation. At Rio Tinto he worked on the autonomous haulage system project at Brockman 4 as an undergraduate production engineer.

Vincent is looking forward to the mentoring and field trip components of the EEF scholarship, both of which he hopes will refine his skills.

Samantha March – University of Adelaide

Samantha completed her Bachelor of Science (Advanced) degree majoring in Geology at the University of Adelaide in 2019 and commenced her Honours degree in 2020. The ‘mystery’ associated with geology is what initially drew Samantha to the field together with an interest in the challenges associated with decoding Earth’s history, specifically in the context of metamorphic geology and economic geology – Samantha’s two favourite courses during her undergraduate degree.

Over the past year, Samantha has pursued her interest in geology through direct involvement with the AusIMM, South Australian Society of Economic Geologists (SASEG) and the Adelaide University Geological Society (AUGS). Samantha is the current Secretary of SASEG, a member of AUGS, and an active member of the AusIMM, regularly attending talks and networking events as well as participating in the branch mentor program in 2019. Among other awards associated with the University of Adelaide, Samantha was humbled to receive the AusIMM Adelaide Women’s Auxiliary Book Prize and an AusIMM Award for Academic Achievement in 2019. Samantha was employed as a research assistant with the Continental Evolution Research Group at the University of Adelaide throughout 2019 and later participated in Evolution Mining’s vacation program at their Mount Rawdon site – both roles that she absolutely loved.

AusIMM has played a fundamental role in carving out the footsteps of Samantha’s career within the minerals industry so far and she is honoured to have received one of the EEF Premium Undergraduate Scholarships. With its assistance, Samantha feels that she will be able to fully commit her time in 2020 to succeeding in Honours. Samantha is eager to maintain her active involvement with AusIMM and to continue expanding upon her professional network, connecting with industry professionals and likeminded motivated students.

Phoebe McAuliffe – University of New South Wales

‘In 2020 I commenced my second year of a Bachelor of Mining Engineering at UNSW. Prior to beginning university, I had limited exposure to the resources industry so wasn’t exactly sure what to expect; however, after completing my first year, doing courses, attending networking events and going on field trips, I’ve become 100 per cent sure that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. One thing I’ve noticed about the mining industry is that it really cares about the young people that are coming into it.

‘Going forward into industry, I’m not sure what I want to specialise in yet but I’m continually looking at the opportunities. There is a lot of technological progression at the moment in areas like automation and improving efficiencies in various aspects of the mining process, which sounds really interesting. The mining industry is a big, global industry and one that everyone relies on, whether directly or indirectly. It is exciting to know that I’ll have access to both national and international opportunities in the heart of such a dynamic industry.’

Jack Walsh – University of Adelaide

Jack is currently studying a double degree in Chemical Engineering and Finance, after which he plans to work in the minerals industry. While taking his study quite seriously Jack acknowledges that university life is much broader than grades and participates wholeheartedly in the chemical engineering community. As the current vice-president of the Adelaide University Chemical Engineering Student’s Society (CHEMS), he enjoys organising and participating in social and industry events, which provides the opportunity to exercise organisational and hosting skills while communicating with industry and academic partners, student peers and fellow committee members.

In addition to his role in CHEMS, Jack participates enthusiastically in Adelaide’s student chapter of the AusIMM and in SA’s Joint Chemical Engineering Committee (JCEC). In a letter of recommendation to the Education Endowment Fund, one of Jack’s lecturers wrote that he had ‘impressed [her] with his determination and focus’ and that ‘his dedication to his work will make him a talented engineer’. His fellow CHEMS members and students agree that he is passionate, amiable, and ensures that the work that he or his team produce is of a high quality.

Christopher Wouters – Curtin University

‘I am a final year mining engineering student at Western Australian School of Mines. During semester and vacation breaks I have worked as a Vacation Student for Northern Star Resources, which has exposed me to a variety of roles including that of Vent Technician as well as assisting in the drill and blast department. This has not only allowed me to gain some valuable mining engineering experience but also exposed me to the professional working environment.

‘Throughout my four-year journey I have had some amazing experiences and opportunities that have brought me to where I am today. I believe that having a good work ethic, being friendly and listening to what others have to say have helped me in my career and studies. Sometimes it’s the smaller things that make the greatest impact.

‘Outside of my work time I enjoy all sorts of sports as well as social time with my friends. University is one of those great places that allows many people to come together and make great memories. I have had an amazing journey up until now and know that 2020 will be another great year filled with opportunity and memories. A wise man once said success is not an accident, it comes with hard work, dedication, sacrifice and most of all doing what you are passionate about.’

EEF Premium Scholarships (postgraduate)

Nikky LaBranche – University of Queensland

Nikky LaBranche is a Research Manager – OHS in the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) within the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at the University of Queensland on secondment from Simtars. She is also studying for a PhD. Her doctoral research is characterising the impact of dust on the respiratory health of coal mine workers. In her research position she is undertaking a strategic gap analysis in the understanding and management of particulates in the resources sector as well as continuing her research into improving the management of significant incidents.

Nikky holds a Bachelors in Mining Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA in Finance from the University of Alabama – Birmingham. She has 15 years’ experience in surface and underground coal through her work in the US, Colombia and Australia. She is also an experienced researcher in incident management having assessed five Level 1 Emergency exercises and performed NIOSH research in self-escape and built-in-place shelters.

Tom Payten – University of Adelaide

Tom Payten worked in the mining industry for a decade as a process mineralogist, helping to solve problems for a range of commodities across the entire mining cycle. In this time, he gained expertise in automated mineralogical systems and understanding of the application of mineral identification techniques to the issues facing the industry.

Tom completed a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Nanotechnology in 2008, and honours in Physics in 2011. His honours project focused on sub-micron element mapping of minerals at the Australian Synchrotron to understand their processing behaviour.

Tom’s current research applies novel fluorescence methods to minerals of economic significance to develop real-time, mineral-specific sensors for ore sorting or processing decision making. This research takes advantage of advances in technology that have occurred over the last 20 years, and exploits fluorescence mechanisms that are yet to be investigated in natural minerals.

Tom hopes to continue solving interesting problems in a variety of situations well into the future.

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