Hailing from a family farm at Thuddungra in cherry country near Young NSW, Brooke recently completed her PhD on soil biochemistry and is about to start a post-doctoral research position with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). She says one of her greatest achievements was realising that she was the expert in a room of fellow scientists, researchers and advisors.
Alinta Energy – CEF Alumnus of the Year
Bachelor of Agricultural Science (First Class Honours)
Charles Sturt University
Country Education Foundation of Young
Now living in Wagga Wagga, just a couple of hours down the road from her hometown, Brooke is still involved in the operations of the family farm. She believes that a career in agricultural science and her work in research means she is inextricably connected with rural and remote areas.
In her spare time, Brooke can be found riding horses in eventing all around NSW and Victoria. She spends a lot of time training, riding and competing her horses and importantly, she knows that having this passion gives her a much needed mental break from the considerable demands of research that keeps her travelling the world and up to her elbows in soil.
ACHIEVEMENT WORTHY OF ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR TITLE
In her honours year of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University Brooke was part of an ACIAR project in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, researching soil salinity in rice-shrimp farming systems.
In 2015, Brooke graduated with First Class Honours and began a PhD in soil biochemistry. During this time, she began lecturing at Charles Sturt where she was the youngest lecturer in the School of Agriculture and Wine Science. Brooke taught first year students, conducted enrichment days for visiting high schools and was involved in school outreach programs, working to inspire the next generation of scientists and farmers.
In the years following, Brooke published papers, presented at conferences and travelled to Japan to present her research. She also completed a ‘Rice Research to Production’ course in the Philippines where she met leading agricultural scientists from all over the globe aiming to extinguish world hunger through improving rice production.
Brooke’s experiences have strengthened her love of agriculture and her desire to help those less fortunate to find practical solutions to agricultural challenges, and the reason why she has been named this year’s Alinta Energy – CEF Alumnus of the Year.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CEF
As an excited and nervous young woman about to undertake her degree in 2012, not knowing the extraordinary opportunities and achievements that lay ahead, Brooke says that the financial support and mentoring offered to her by CEF Young was incredibly beneficial.
She believes this support is instrumental, providing a “kick start” to the journey for rural students. Brooke is now a proud member of our CEF alumni and encourages past and current recipients to “reach out.” She says “it is amazing how receptive and helpful people are when you ask for assistance or guidance – and the CEF alumni network is just that!”
Nominated for the awards this year by Leanne Parkman from the CEF local foundation in Young, this is a testament to the pride CEF volunteers feel for students and the investment they have in their success.