Science Education Officer at UNE wins national award

sue-griegg-blogg-1The University of New England’s Susanna Greig has won a national award for her work as Science Education Officer for UNE’s Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) program.

Dr Matt Cahill, Dow AgroSciences Research and Development Leader for Australia, presented Ms Greig with the award at Parliament House in Canberra last week. Dr Cahill was accompanied by the Hon. Sid Sidebottom, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

PICSE is a national collaboration between – and is funded jointly by – the Commonwealth Government, universities, regional primary industries, national primary industry organisations, and businesses. It delivers science class activities, teachers’ professional development, teaching resources, student camps and student industry placement programs, building relationships between school students, teachers, universities and local scientists or employers associated with primary industries

Ms Greig (pictured here), who has worked as a PICSE Science Education Officer at UNE for the past four years, said she was “proud and honoured” to have been recognised. “I’m really committed to helping teachers develop their students’ interest in – and knowledge about – the science that supports our agricultural industries,” Ms Greig said after receiving the PICSE / Dow AgroSciences Science Education Officer Professional Development Award.

While she has yet to decide on the focus of her professional development prize, she is interested in learning more about the new national science curriculum for high-school students. “I’d like to know more about how, within the new curriculum, the science supporting agriculture will be incorporated into the science classroom,” she said.

Another award presented at last week’s ceremony was the PICSE / Dow AgroSciences Travelling Scholarship Award. This went to 18-year-old Alana Johnson from Tamworth, who is thinking about a career as an agronomist. The award includes an all-expenses-paid placement at the Dow AgroSciences Global Discovery Research Station in Waireka, New Zealand.

“I’m really excited about winning the award,” Alana said. “At the moment I’m thinking about agronomy, but this travel prize will help me see what the options are.”

Through the PICSE centre at UNE, Alana has completed a number of industry placements, including one with the Australian Cotton Research Institute at Narrabri. “That experience was amazing,” she said. “I got to assist researchers and students with their trials. PICSE has opened my eyes to the science that underpins the agricultural sector. I can see there are great opportunities – and many diverse career options – in agriculture.”

The awards, now in their second year, were presented during a two-day roundtable event to help generate solutions to the shortage of skills in agricultural industries. The event, “Rebuilding the Ag Workforce”, was coordinated by PICSE and brought together industry, education, and government representatives.

Clicking on the photograph of Susanna Greig displayed above reveals a photograph of her, taken at the award ceremony in Canberra, with (from left) Dr Matt Cahill, Alana Johnson, and Associate Professor David Russell (National Director of the PICSE program).