James is the highest achiever of all
University of Adelaide PhD student and men's health researcher James Smith has been named the 2007 Young Achiever of the Year for South Australia.
James was selected ahead of 24 other finalists at a gala presentation dinner in March at the Hilton Hotel, attended by more than 400 people.
It caps off an amazing 12 months for the 26-year-old who took out the Young Australian of the Year for South Australia in 2006.
"I was stunned when they read out the result," James said. "The calibre of finalists was amazing and it's a real honour to be recognised in the same league."
Finalists vied for top honours in nine separate categories, with one overall winner. James won the Leadership Award as well as the top prize, securing a total of $2000 prize money. He has already donated half of it to Project Australia, a youth-driven initiative linking young leaders across the country.
James is currently investigating men's help-seeking behaviours through the Discipline of Public Health at the University of Adelaide. This research forms part of the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study, for which he has already received a number of accolades.
"My research is debunking the myth that men are not interested in their health, " he said. "They are, but they negotiate their health in different ways to women. They attempt to focus on solutions when they have a health problem. If they can fix it themselves then they may not seek help. It's a very masculine approach."
In late 2006 he was also awarded a $15,000 scholarship by the Masonic Foundation to undertake a men's health policy study tour of the UK and Ireland in May/June this year.
One of his papers on men's health has been published this month in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia. The web link is: www.healthpromotion.org.au/journal.php
James is also the current President of the Australian Health Promotion Association (SA Branch).
Another University of Adelaide student, Sarah Crook, a PhD candidate in Aerospace Engineering, took out the Science & Technology Award at the awards night.
Sarah, 24, is currently researching ways of reducing the intense noise and vibration produced by high-speed aircraft. Her long-term goal is to become an astronaut and in 2006 she was coordinator and moderator of the Moon to Mars Workshop in Valencia, Spain.
Four other University of Adelaide students were finalists at the 2007 South Australian Young Achiever Awards.
Story by Candy Gibson