We first met James Ansell in 2013 when a grant from the Central Australian Education Foundation enabled him to travel from Alice Springs to the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra to study.
Fast forward to 2017 and James, who graduated from a Bachelor of Science majoring in Astronomy/Astrophysics and Science Communication, and honours in Science Communication in 2015 was CEF’s guest speaker alongside his idol, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki at the annual CEF Friends Lunch.
“I have always liked the idea of breaking complicated concepts down into layman’s terms, like Dr Karl,” James said.
“Without the support of my local CEF, I simply wouldn’t have been able to consider moving to Canberra to study. It was just too expensive. But here I am four years later about to meet and talk with someone who has been inspirational for many young Australians including myself.”
James is currently a PhD candidate at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS), as well as a tutor and marker of undergraduate courses covering things such as “Public Awareness of Science” and “Science, Risk and Ethics”. He’s also working in an administration role and a marketing/promotional role at the ANU to help pay the bills.
“I grew up in Alice Springs in the middle of Australia and had a purely spectacular night sky to look at,” he said. “At ANU that evolved into involvement with the Black Hole Society (the Astronomy Club), the Physics Society and the Science Communication Society. Currently I’m a communication/engagement intern with Radio Galaxy Zoo – a crowd sourced astronomy project using observations from the Australian Telescope Large Area Survey in Radio and comparing them to Spitzer Space Telescopes infrared data. Although my own research tends to focus on the intersection between health science and society.”
“Education is the greatest creator of opportunities,” said James. “CEF plays an essential role in opening up opportunities for improvement for individuals, communities and the world we live in.”
“I’m a great example of CEF giving people from all backgrounds and walks of life an opportunity to achieve more than they ever dreamed of.”
When he’s not pondering the big questions of black holes, James’s hobbies include flying hot air balloons and organising pop-culture conventions like GAMMA.CON which is essentially, as he puts it, a local comic convention.
You can follow James on Twitter @radiogalaxyzoo
If you’d like to help country kids like James, you can do so here.