A graduate of The University of Western Australia, who works in bushfire risk and natural disaster management, has been awarded the prestigious Bob Hawke John Monash Scholarship.
Madison Smith, who is also a State Emergency Service volunteer, will now undertake a Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience at the University of Canterbury.
The UWA Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) graduate from 2020, was one of 15 Australians to be awarded the John Monash Scholarships for excellence in academic life, community service and sport.
Image: UWA graduate and SES volunteer Madison Smith.
At UWA, Ms Smith was awarded the Alan Meyer Posner Memorial Prize (2020) for being the student with the highest mark in the Land Capability Assessment unit.
Ms Smith said because of climate change, Australia would face an increase in frequency and severity of natural hazards including fire, floods and storms.
“Continued environmental degradation will only worsen the impacts these hazards have on the economy, environment, infrastructure and our community,” Ms Smith said.
“I am passionate about building community resilience in Australia through education in disaster risk reduction and aspire to be a connector between government, academia and the public.”
In her spare time, Ms Smith is a keen hiker and runner and was inspired to take up scuba diving after the 2018 Thai caves rescue.
“I have challenged myself by learning night diving, which relies on navigation skills and teamwork in pitch-black waters,” she said.
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said Ms Smith’s work to lead and strengthen communities was important given Australia’s recent extreme weather events.
“Madison exemplifies the leadership qualities that the Bob Hawke John Monash scholarship supports,” Mr Clare said. “All the winners have done amazing things in their fields. They are role models for showing how success can come from motivation and determination and hard work.”