Young geologist wins State's top honour

Dr Kate Selway, 2008 Young Achiever of the Year for South Australia

Dr Kate Selway, 2008 Young Achiever of the Year for South Australia
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Monday, 31 March 2008

A University of Adelaide graduate who is helping to improve mineral exploration techniques in the Olympic Dam region has been named the 2008 Young Achiever of the Year for South Australia.

Dr Kate Selway, a postdoctoral research associate, took out the top award at a gala presentation dinner at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday night, which honoured the achievements of South Australia's most talented young people.

The 26-year-old geologist is working on a collaborative project between the University of Adelaide, BHP Billiton and Teck Cominco in the Olympic Dam region, carrying out large scale magnetotelluric (electromagnetic) surveys which provide 3D images of the earth to depths of about 70 kilometres.

This research will help define the full extent of major mineral deposits in South Australia's mining belt, which is expected to reap substantial economic benefits for the State.

"In a broader sense, this research will enable us to better understand how these deposits formed. Since the majority of our mineral deposits are hidden beneath large thicknesses of sediment, any discoveries will be extremely important for South Australia," Dr Selway says.

Her PhD research within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide focused on Australia's geological structure and she made headlines in 2006 when she found evidence of a collision between northern and central Australia 1.64 billion years ago.

Dr Selway describes her work in the magnetotellurics field as "incredibly exciting" and says the electromagnetic imaging work she is involved in is being increasingly used as an exploration tool by mineral and geothermal energy companies.

"There are lots of groundbreaking discoveries ahead of us and I am very keen to stay in Australia to be part of it all."

A total of 27 finalists vied for the top honour, which was announced by the South Australian Minister for Youth, the Honourable Paul Caica MP.

Categories included science and technology, indigenous achievers, sports, leadership, arts, environment, regional achievers and community service.

Dr Selway also took out the Science & Technology Award ahead of two other University of Adelaide finalists, mechanical engineering graduate and Fulbright Scholar Laura Brooks, and biomedical science PhD student Brooke Summers. Ms Brooks is researching environmentally friendly techniques to map the sea floor for commercial, environmental, defence and archaeological applications, and Ms Summers is investigating the effects of binge drinking during pregnancy on fetal development.

Elder Conservatorium of Music graduate, 23-year-old soprano Sky Ingram, won the Arts Award.


Contact Details

Dr Kate Selway
Postdoctoral Research Associate
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5326
Mobile: 0448 867 889

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762