Murdoch animal science students win Rio Tinto Groundbreaker scholarships

March 6, 2017

Naomi Leahy (left) and Komala Ravendran

Naomi Leahy (left) and Komala Ravendran will use the scholarships to fund their honours research

Two Murdoch University animal science students have won prestigious scholarships worth $7,500 to support their studies.

Naomi Leahy and Komala Ravendran were chosen as two of four recipients of Rio Tinto Groundbreaker Scholarships because of their passion for agriculture, their intended career path and their contributions to the Western Australian primary industry and the community.

The scholarships are delivered through the Royal Agricultural Society of WA (RASWA), the not-for-profit organisation that supports the state’s primary industries.

Both Naomi and Komala will use the scholarships to help them complete their honours projects.

Naomi said: “I am so grateful to Rio Tinto and the RASWA for the scholarship.

“The Animal Science degree at Murdoch opens up opportunities for students to gain experience to make us competitive and passionate in any setting.

“Our success in this scholarship program reflects on the dedication of our lecturers who go out of their way to help us gain opportunities and experience in industry.”

Naomi said the scholarship would help fund her travels to King Island, off the coast of Tasmania, where she is investigating dark cutting in cattle. Dark cutting is a costly issue in the cattle industry resulting in meat which is dark in colour, dry to eat, spoils quickly and has variable tenderness.

Komala said the scholarship would be recognised by future funding bodies as an indication of the worth of her honours project.

“My scholarship money will be going towards the cost of relocating to the Pilbara,” she said. “My project will be on a cattle station looking at different feeding strategies for maximum weight gain through the dry season.

“My work is aimed at providing base data that can be used for a wide range of ongoing projects.”​

James Davison, General Manager – Studies & Technology, Rio Tinto, said the company was proud to support the scholarships as part of the company’s 50th anniversary year legacy.

“Rio Tinto has a long history with the agricultural industry and we own six pastoral stations and are one of the largest cattle owners in Western Australia,” he said.

RASWA President Rob Wilson said his organisation encourages and supports a number of educational and training opportunities in agriculture to stimulate students to either consider or continue a career in agriculture in WA.

“We welcome the support of companies like Rio Tinto to assist RASWA in providing these opportunities as part of a shared commitment to the State’s agricultural and environmental future,” he added.

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