Latest News
28 May 2024

Siobhan Heenan awarded the prestigious R.W. Richards Medal by Federation University

We are excited to announce that Siobhan Heenan, our talented Graduate Environmental Planner, has been awarded the R.W. Richards Medal by  Federation University. This prestigious award, presented annually since 1959, recognises the Bachelor of Applied Science graduate who has demonstrated the most outstanding academic performance throughout their course.

Siobhan started her academic journey with a keen interest in environmental issues and a strong desire to make a difference. Throughout her Bachelor of Environmental and Conservation Science she studied Community Conservation in Nepal, conducted a third-year research project investigating koala DNA isolated from scats, and undertook field work (various fauna and vegetation surveys) in Cape Otway and the Nanya Research Station in NSW.

Receiving the R.W. Richards Medal is a significant milestone in Siobhan’s career. As she steps into her professional role as an environmental planner, she brings with her a wealth of knowledge, a strong ethical foundation, and a passion for positive outcomes.

We congratulate Siobhan on this remarkable achievement and look forward to supporting her as she continues to excel in her career.

The R.W. Richards Medal has a long history at Federation University. Named in honour of Dick Richards, an Australian science teacher who joined the Ballarat School in 1914, the medal commemorates his 44 years of service, including 12 years as Principal. During his career, Richards developed many pieces of experimental equipment and served as a scientific adviser in the production of optical apparatus in Australia during World War II.

Richards' life was also marked by significant achievements, including a three-year Antarctic expedition from 1914 to 1917 with Sir Ernest Shackleton. Richards' ship, the Aurora, was blown away in a gale, leaving him marooned for two years with nine other men. For his efforts to save the lives of two fellow explorers, he was awarded the Albert Medal (now known as the George Cross) in 1923. Richards outlived all other members of the expedition, becoming the last survivor of the so-called “Heroic Age”.  His significant contributions to science and education were honoured through the naming of the R.W. Richards Medal.

This award is now symbol of academic excellence and commitment, celebrating hard working individuals who have excelled in their studies and contributed significantly to their respective fields. Siobhan joins 64 other successful graduates of Federation University to receive this award. This achievement is a testament to her dedication, hard work, and passion for environmental science.