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Tasmanian wins prestigious Ag Institute Australia National Student Award

Tue 23, May 2017

Ashlea Schott, representing Tasmania, has been announced as the winner of the Ag Institute Australia (AIA) National Student Award for 2017.

Ms Schott won a tightly-contested final in Manjimup (WA) yesterday (Thursday 18th May) at the ‘Science and Innovation in South West Agriculture’ conference, a joint event being held by AIA and the South West Science Council.

The prestigious AEV Richardson Memorial National Student Award is competed for by students selected from each AIA Division of Australia, who have completed an Honours or coursework Masters research project as part of an agricultural science (or related) degree.

As part of the competition, finalists provide a written submission on the background of their research topic and also present a 15-minute talk to a judging panel at the final.

Ms Schott’s research project at the University of Tasmania investigated the floral developmental stages most sensitive to environmental stress in pyrethrum production.

“Winning the final was a wonderful surprise as all of the other contestants were confident and well spoken, but it's definitely a proud moment,” she says. “The opportunity to participate in the competition, including coming to Manjimup for the final was an amazing opportunity for all of us to learn from industry representatives and to showcase our own projects.”

Ms Schott now works for Bejo Tasmania as a graduate research agronomist, just one example of the exciting career opportunities available in agriculture.

(Ashlea Schott, representing Tasmania, receives the National Student Award from Ian Macleod, from sponsor Peracto)

Ian Macleod, from National Student Award sponsor Peracto, says the quality of presentations from the finalists continues to impress.
“This competition sees some of the best agricultural students from across the country come together to present their research, and each year the quality gets better,” Mr Macleod says.“Importantly, the National Student Award not only showcases the talent coming through in our industry, but also gives these students a chance to perform on the national stage.

“We are very pleased to sponsor this competition, and look forward to seeing the positive impact Ashlea and her fellow finalists have in agriculture in the years to come.”

Official 2017 National Student Award Results:
Ashlea Schott, University of Tasmania, representing Tasmania
Researching effect of assimilate supply and vernalisation duration on flower yield and production in pyrethrum

Rudi McEwin, University of Adelaide, representing South Australia
Researching impact of non-additive genetic effects on Wagyu carcass quality

Kiara Crook, University of Queensland (St Lucia), representing Queensland
Researching effect of organic amendments on sugarcane root health and function, and associated nematode populations

Rudi McEwin, University of Adelaide, representing South Australia

Grace Scott from Western Sydney University, representing New South Wales
Researching new cultivars of nutritionally sound crops

Charlotte Jones, University of Western Australia, representing Western Australia
Researching links between ecological restoration and human health

While in Manjimup, the Ag Institute Australia AGM was held, with director elections resulting in Chair Andrew Bishop (Tasmania) being elected for another term, with Turlough Guerin (Victoria) to serve as vice chair. Guy Coleman and Shaun Coffey are the new directors joining the board, with David Hamilton the outgoing director.


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