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Prestigious National Student Award goes to NSW Ag Scientist

Wed 01, May 2019



Stephanie MacKillop from NSW has taken out the Ag Institute Australia (AIA) National Student Award (NSA), one of the most prestigious honours for agricultural science students across the country.

Stephanie was presented with the AEV Richardson Memorial Award after winning the NSA final in Tasmania recently, an event sponsored by Biosecurity Tasmania - Plant Diagnostic Services.

AIA is the peak industry body for agricultural and natural resource management professionals in Australia, supporting and enabling the development and broader industry recognition of members. AIA recently developed the Chartered Agriculturalist (CAg) scheme, a long awaited and well received industry-first professional accreditation program.

Five outstanding agricultural science students represented their State in the NSA final by presenting their research and findings to attendees at an AIA conference near Launceston.

Stephanie also won the People’s Choice Award for her presentation on ‘Soldier flies for protein production and waste reduction’, her entomology research topic at the University of Sydney.

"I'm very honoured and proud to have won such a prestigious award. I'm very grateful to the AIA for running the event and to all the sponsors for their support of it,” Stephanie said. 

“The calibre of presentations was outstanding and I really enjoyed seeing the diversity and high standard of research that students nationally have completed. Congratulations to all the other students."

Second place in the National Student Award went to Max Weidenbach (Tasmania) and in third was Daniel Petersen (SA).

As the AIA Director responsible for Awards, Dr Daniel Tan said the 2019 student awards final showcased why the future of Australian agriculture is in safe hands.

“As the peak body for agricultural professionals, we are pleased that AIA is able to attract the brightest and most talented agriculture students from universities across Australia to compete for the prestigious AEV Richardson National Student Award,” he commented.

“This year’s student presentations were on diverse topics of soil science, plant pathology, weed science and entomology. 

“I am very pleased that Stephanie has won this award, a testament to the excellent agricultural teaching and research programs at the University of Sydney.”

AIA is also pleased to announce five new directors from a strong pool of nominees presenting with diverse and extensive experience and talents from a wide geographical background across Australia.

The successful nominees are; Sarah Hunter (NSW), Adrian James (TAS), Margaret Jewell (QLD), Elizabeth Read (VIC) & Scott McKinnon (NSW). Biographies of our new director line-up is available at


2019 AEV Richardson Memorial Award Winner

(L-R) AIA TAS Division Chair Adrian James, Max Weidenbach (TAS), Daniel Petersen (SA), winner Stephanie MacKillop (NSW) and AIA National Board Director Daniel Tan


People’s Choice Award Winner

Stephanie MacKillop – New South Wales

Stephanie’s research topic at the University of Sydney was ‘Soldier flies for protein production and waste reduction’

Second Place

Max Weidenbach - Tasmania

Max’s research topic at the University of Tasmania was ‘The Spatial Variability of Soil Micronutrient Concentrations in King Island Production Systems’

Third Place

Daniel Petersen – South Australia

Daniel’s research topic at the University of Adelaide was ‘Herbicide resistance in Sonchus oleraceus (common sowthistle) and its management in Lens culinaris (lentil)’


Jefferson Allan – Western Australia

Jefferson’s research topic at Curtin University was ‘Host-specific differential gene expression in the fungal necrotroph Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

Olwen Paterson – Queensland

Olwen’s research topic at the University of Queensland was ‘Recovery rates of disease suppressive soil microbes using different isolation techniques’


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