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Boost for graduates


Bright thinkers in the fields of space, technology, agriculture and sustainability were awarded 2024 Playford Trust scholarships at the annual awards night held in Adelaide in April.

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More than 40 South Australian students were honoured, ranging from first-year undergraduates to PhD researchers.

The Trust was established in 1983 in honour of Sir Thomas Playford, the State’s longest-serving Premier, and has supported close to 700 students in the past decade.

All Playford Trust scholarship recipients are studying in areas considered of strategic importance to South Australia. The six key priority areas are: Advanced manufacturing and new technologies; water, energy and climate change; agriculture, aquaculture and food production; space and defence technologies; resources, energy and sustainability; and health sciences and enabling technologies.

Among the diverse mix were seven students who graduated from Catholic schools, two of whom were awarded 2024 Playford Trust/Andy Thomas Space Foundation university scholarships. These went to St Ignatius’ College graduate Noah McDonald who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) at University of Adelaide and St Paul’s College graduate Shrey Patel who has embarked on a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical) at University of Adelaide.

“I am passionate about aerospace engineering because this field allows me to work on the leading edge of aircraft and spacecraft technologies,” said Shrey who is inspired by the likes of the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong and Australia’s Andy Thomas.

“The Andy Thomas Space Foundation University Scholarship is a great domain for me to connect and get involved in the local and national space sector, possibly opening up future career opportunities,” Shrey said.

“This prestigious award will assist me in completing my studies. In the future, I aspire to play a role in strengthening Australia’s aviation and space capabilities. I plan to work in these sectors with a particular focus on advanced manufacturing and the research and development of new avionic and space technologies.”

Noah said he was inspired by his engineer father.

“I think the problem-solving skills learnt through engineering can be applied to all areas of life which will make me a much more well-rounded person,” Noah said.

“Having several aerospace facilities and companies here in South Australia made it a very intriguing option to me. I think the work being completed at places like Lot Fourteen and Fleet Space Technologies are highly intriguing in the exploration of our world and in space.

“I am extremely honoured to have been chosen for such a prestigious award and am extremely proud as it is some reward for all for the hard work I have put in,” he said. Playford Trust scholarships were also awarded to St Francis de Sales graduate Jackson Rendall, St Mark’s College, Port Pirie graduate Lucia Alvarez, Gleeson College graduates Caleb Ferraresso and Daniel Chalmers, and Caritas College graduate Sophie Glamuzina, a repeat recipient who was awarded the Playford Trust Residential Scholarship.

The Trust combines its own funds with support from 33 partners across industry, government, the universities and the community. The aim is to help students make the most of their studies, achieve their potential and contribute to South Australia’s knowledge and research base.

“The talent is truly inspiring and the study areas amazingly diverse,” said the Trust’s Chair, former State Minister the Hon Diana Laidlaw AM.

“The students are studying or working in everything from spacecraft engineering, metal 3D printing and thwarting terrorism, to conservation genomics, future food systems and renewable energy. Together we’re investing in South Australia’s future.”



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