Peel Bright Minds: Inaugural award ceremony celebrates excellence | Photos

Community members gathered at the inaugural Peel Bright Minds awards to celebrate outstanding local efforts in Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (ESTEAM) on June 28. 

The ceremony, held at Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah recognised the contributions of educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, volunteers, community members and students in the field.

Young and old were in attendance to congratulate winners and hear presentations from key-note speakers.

Among those to speak at the event was West Australian chief scientist Professor Peter Klinken. 

Mr Klinken shared his knowledge and expressed the importance of ESTEAM in the education of students. 

Former WA chief scientist professor Lyn Beazley joined local academic and Peel Bright Minds volunteer Cassie Howell to judge the awards. 

Ms Beazley couldn’t make the ceremony, however, spoke via a short video addressed to attendees. 

Both judges Ms Beazley and Ms Howell said they were incredibly impressed with the number and quality of the submissions.

The awards were broken up into four categories, which included Citizen Scientist of the Year, Science Communicator of the Year, Young ESTEAM Champion of the Year and ESTEAM Champion of the Year. 

Citizen Scientist of the Year

This year’s Citizen Scientist of the Year was won by Barbara Sing and Kim Davies.

The award was created to recognise someone who had actively engaged with and championed involvement in citizen science initiatives, either through creation and management of or participation in citizen science projects. 

Both teachers at John Tonkin College, the duo collaborate to inspire students in the fields of ESTEAM. 

The award was sponsored and presented by deputy mayor Caroline Knight. 

Ms Knight congratulated the woman and said that judges had noted that their combined efforts made them the outstanding recipient of the award. 

Science Communicator of the Year

Peel Harvey Catchment Council senior advisor Dr Steve Fisher claimed the Science Communicator of the Year award. 

This award was established to recognise researchers or science practitioners that show outstanding engagement with or communication to the community in Peel. 

Mr Fisher talks to people young and old about the importance of the Peel region’s environment. 

Across the years, he has played a key role in raising community awareness of science and land management.  

The award was sponsored and presented by Peel’s Regional Development Australia chief executive officer John Lambrecht. 

Local marine biologist Krista Nicholson received a highly commended award in the category. 

Young ESTEAM Champion of the Year

Among the diverse crowd at the event was a group of young bright minds who were honoured for their already blossoming passion for ESTEAM. 

Young and talented artist Xanthe Turner claimed the award for her work in founding her own publication – Turner Books. 

The 16-year-old also works as a part-time music tutor and has helped community initiatives. 

This award was created to recognise a young person, aged 21, demonstrating achievements in ESTEAM and inspiring others.

Other finalists included Aaron Johnston, Charlotte Ward, Dylan Edwards and Emma Ward. 

ESTEAM Champion of the Year. 

The champion of the year award recognises people who inspire others and build community capability in ESTEAM.

The category was broken down into two parts – community champion and professional champion – and presented by Peel’s Regional Development Australia chairwoman Paddi Creevey. 

Trish Davies and Lee-Anne Walley shared in the glory of taking home the top honour for their tireless work in promoting ESTEAM in the Peel region. 

Finalists also included Brett Crebert, Helen Coleman, Jason Hoffman, Joanne Harman, Paul Litwin, Stacy Harrison, Trick Cole and Veronica Smith. 

According to Ms Creevey, judges had a tough time choosing a winner from the “many high-quality nominations”.

For more information on the awards or on Peel Bright Minds visit their Facebook page