James is the highest achiever of all
Monday, 2 April 2007
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 on Saturday 31 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 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. 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/about_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 Saturday night's gala event.
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 was co-ordinator and moderator of the Moon to Mars Workshop in Valencia, Spain.
Other University of Adelaide students who were finalists at the 2007 South Australian Young Achiever Awards included:
- Laura Brooks, 24, a Fulbright Scholar with a First Class Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and a University of Adelaide Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement. Laura is researching environmentally friendly techniques to map the sea floor for commercial, environmental, defence and archaeological applications. She is currently furthering her PhD studies at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute at the University of California.
- Tara Pukala, 25, a PhD candidate and Research Associate in the School of Chemistry and Physics. Tara's work with bioactive peptides and how animals use them to defend themselves against predators is at the cutting edge of research in peptide chemistry. Tara is continuing her research at the University of Cambridge.
- Skye Riggs, 21, a Bachelor of Arts student and passionate advocate for World Vision who was named Youth Ambassador for South Australia in 2004. Skye represented Australia last November at the International Youth Volunteering Conference in Delhi, India, giving a speech on the importance of empowering youth.
- Sky Ingram, 23, who holds a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance and a First Class Honours degree from the Elder Conservatorium. Sky is the Australian 2006 MBS Young Performer of the Year and has won numerous awards and five music scholarships for voice.
Nine individual awards were given out for the following categories: Community Service, Outstanding Young Indigenous Award, Career Achievement, Sports, Leadership, Environment, Arts, Regional Initiative, Science & Technology Award.