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International recognition for home grown scientist

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Mary MacKillop College old scholar and US-based scientist Waltraud (Trudy) Kriven has added to her long list of career achievements by joining an acclaimed worldwide organisation charged with promoting excellence in science and technology.

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Trudy recently accepted an invitation to be a member of the European Union Academy of Sciences (EUAS), an independent, international science organisation comprised of the world’s leading scientists, including several Nobel prize winners. Members share a commitment to promote science and technology to foster social and economic development throughout the world.

Raised in Adelaide, Trudy attended Mary MacKillop College in the 1960s at a time when it wasn’t ‘cool’ for girls to be interested in science. In order to pursue her passion, in her matriculation year she had to attend chemistry classes at the then, all-boys St Ignatius’ College.

Graduating from Adelaide University, Trudy moved to the USA where she has worked ever since. A professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – considered the premier engineering university in the United States – Trudy has devoted the past 20 years to researching and teaching about the benefits of clay-based geopolymers, which offer an environmentally friendly solution to the use of cement.

Despite her accomplishments in the field of science, Trudy has never forgotten the important influence the Josephites had on her education. In 1984 she began sponsoring Mary MacKillop’s annual Science Prize and in more recent years her substantial financial contribution has been presented to the Dux and Proxime Accessit.

Returning to Adelaide often to visit her 98-year-old mother Aloisia Kriven, who is a long time member of the Tranmere Catholic parish, Trudy sometimes drops into her old school to provide words of encouragement and inspiration to students who are considering a career in the sciences.

In an interview with The Southern Cross in 2018, Trudy said her Catholic faith has always been an important part of her life. She and husband Dr Richard Keane (a Rostrevor College graduate and Flinders University alumnus) regularly attend St Patrick’s Church in Urbana, south of Chicago, where they serve as lectors and Eucharistic ministers.

 

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