2022 ExxonMobil Student Scientists of the Year announced
Two notable post-graduate students were announced as the ExxonMobil Student Scientists of the Year, during this year’s WA Premier’s Science Awards on Monday 29 August, 2022.
ExxonMobil Australia LNG General Manager, Margaret Rogacki, had the opportunity to award the winners their prestigious accolade during the night.
“The calibre of candidates that have been nominated for this award is evident, as this is the third year in a row that following enormous consideration from the judging panel, not one but two students have been selected as the ExxonMobil Student Scientists of the Year,” she said.
“We’re proud to continue to support the exceptional talent Western Australia has to offer and ensure their incredible scientific efforts are recognised and highlighted throughout the community,” Margaret continued.
Congratulations to all this year’s finalists and the joint-winners of the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year award, Nikhilesh and Kathryn. Please see Nikhilesh and Kathryn’s contributions to science outlined below.
Nikhilesh (Nik) Bappoo
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research / The University of Western Australia
Nikhilesh (Nik) Bappoo is a passionate biomedical engineer with a vision to develop and ethically commercialise novel solutions to unmet clinical needs, hence improving the delivery of healthcare. Nik specialises in blood flow simulations, from ‘engineering the placenta’ to predict abnormalities during pregnancy, to predicting aneurysm growth and rupture. Nik's entrepreneurial mindset has led to the formation of VeinTech, a WA medical device company, aiming to reduce the high rate of failure of cannulation. He also manages product development and regulatory affairs for VitalTrace, another WA company developing a novel biosensor to improve childbirth outcomes for mothers and babies.
Kathryn Ross is a postgraduate research student based at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. She studies supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxies, focusing on baby black holes that are smaller than typical galaxies. Using telescopes around Australia, Kathryn discovered these black holes are not as young as previously thought, but frustrated teens being restricted by a surrounding cloud of gas. She is a science communicator promoting STEM to audiences nationally and internationally. Kathryn is also an activist leading a national campaign, IncludeHer, working to diversify the representation of scientists in schools.