Meet the judges: University of Adelaide Young Scientist Video Competition

UoA judges
Impress the judges (above), and you could score $500 for yourself, $1,000 for your school and publication on the University of Adelaide and Careers with STEM websites.

Are you an eco-warrior with video skills? The University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year video comp is open for entries – and it’s time you met the judges

Know the next climate change hero? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

The University of Adelaide has teamed up with Careers with STEM for a curriculum-linked video competition that’s open to students in years 7-10 attending an Australian school.

Channel your inner eco-warrior to make a short video on an environmental problem or solution on one of the following topics:

You could be named the University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year, plus win $500 for yourself, and $1000 for your school!

This is a seriously awesome opportunity for any aspiring environmental scientists! Entries are open until 29 October – but before you submit yours, check out the STEM backgrounds of the very people who will be choosing this year’s winning video.

Anastasia Volkova, Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineer Dr Anastasia Volkova is combining her passion for food and flight with business know-how to help farmers produce crops that don’t cost the Earth

In her next-gen engineering role, Dr Anastasia Volkova is feeding the world to protect the planet.

From the Ukraine to Poland and Sydney to California, Anastasia has had a seriously international career! After completing an undergrad degree and Masters in Europe, the next-gen engineer came to Australia to study a PhD in autonomous systems at Sydney University. It was here that she raised millions of investment dollars to found FluroSat – a start-up that uses drones and satellite data to help farmers grow more with less.

This year, FluroSat joined forces with US AgTech startup Dagan to create software models that use satellite and sensing data to accurately measure how different farming practices can help trap more carbon in the soil. 

With a passion to make science-based agronomy and sustainable crop management an industry standard, Dr. Volkova juggles her CEO commitments with other important roles. She’s a TEDx Speaker, MIT 35 Under 35 Innovator, Amelia Earhart Fellow and most recently was included in the BBC 100 Women – a list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world. 

Read her full pathway here.

Professor Alan Collins, Tectonic Geologist

Professor Alan Collins is a tectonic geologist who’s interested in how the evolution of the planet has controlled and governed earth surface systems

Alan Collins
Alan Collins leads the Tectonics and Earth Systems Group (TES) in Adelaide.

Professor Alan Collins loves Earth. So much so that he’s dedicated his career to studying the very heart of it – plate tectonic controls of the last billion years! 

The passionate Earth Scientist has a BSc (Hons.) degree from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, The University of London (1993), and a PhD – on the tectonics of SW Turkey – from The University of Edinburgh (1997).

In between conducting studies in Australia, Canada, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Poland, Tanzania, Turkey, Tanzania, the UK and Antarctica, Professor Collins has been lecturing and heading research projects at universities since 2005. 

His on-going work deep-dives into various aspects of geoscience, including palaeomagnetism, structural geology, geochronology and sedimentology to answer science’s most geologically significant questions. 

In 2012 he was awarded an Australian Research Council ‘Future Fellowship’ and is currently leading the Tectonics and Earth Systems Group (TES) in Adelaide and teaching undergraduate and Honours level courses in Geology and Minerals Geoscience at The University of Adelaide. 

Dr Damien Fordham, Associate Professor in Global Ecology

Dr Damien Fordham is providing a real-world foundation for better anticipating what the future may bring under accelerated rates of climate change

As trans-disciplinary scientist, Damien’s research brings a range of critical skills to the topic of global environmental change.

If it involves science and the natural world, chances are Dr Fordham has written a paper on it. As a trans-disciplinary scientist – qualified in many different Earth Science-related areas – his interests are diverse, and include global change biology, biogeography, climate science, quantitative ecology and conservation biology. 

By blending both theoretical and empirical approaches, Damien’s studies use the latest developments in global ecology, climatology, paleoecology and paleogenomics in an attempt to improve the way in which ecological-model forecasts protect natural systems for long-term resource sustainability.

On top of his research projects, Damien spends the rest of his working week inspiring the next-generation to explore exciting, Earth Science careers. He’s currently an Associate Professor in Global Ecology at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and Department for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and mentors a host of post-graduate students too. 

Joanne Villis, Digital Technologies Teacher 

Joanne Villis is a Secondary Digital Technologies teacher and SEQTA facilitator at St Aloysius College, Adelaide.

With a Masters in Education/Technology, Joanne has delivered Professional Learning at an international level.

Joanne has 17 years teaching experience, from Reception to Year 12, with the addition of tutoring Computer Science and Education and guest lecturer at the University of SA.

With a Masters in Education/Technology and her passion for teaching, she has developed and delivered Professional Learning at a local, national, and international level.

Most recently, Joanne has been recognised by Microsoft Australia, two years in a row as a key teacher in the Imagine Cup, a global initiative supporting the ideas of students in the field of Artificial Intelligence. 

Holly Cooke, Geology Student

Holly is a final year geology student at the University of Adelaide.

As a geology student, Holly spends 9 to 5 uncovering the richness and complexity of the natural world.

Holly is an energetic STEM Communicator, studying at the University of Adelaide, who loves telling the stories of science. To her, rocks aren’t just rocks – they keep billion-year- old secrets which help geologists understand the richness and complexity of the natural world.

Understanding these secrets, like those of critical minerals, create a fundamental scientific blueprint that can help build a decarbonised world. Holly is beyond excited to see what our bright young minds can envision about how STEM will build our collective future.


For more info on the University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year video competition, head here.


Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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