Finalists for the Young ESTEAM Champion of the Year Award. Photo by Andrea Kelly.

Blog by Cassie Howell 


The Inaugural Peel Bright Minds’ ESTEAM Awards night was held on the 28th June at Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah (CASM). The night opened with local musician Nate Lansdell performing some beautiful music to the backdrop of the new Entente exhibit at CASM.

Peel Bright Minds Program Coordinator Charlie Jones gave an overview of the incredible work that the organisation has achieved in the short time since its inception late last year.

Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken then delivered a fascinating keynote address about the valuable place that Western Australia has in the future of ESTEAM. He highlighted the importance of innovation and start-ups and the need for both community and government to support these initiatives. He noted that “curriculum content can crush creativity” and therefore that a different approach to education may be needed.

Finally it was time for the main event: the awards. Every category was filled with incredible local change-makers making a difference in our local community, which the judges noted made for great difficulty in selecting the winners. Each finalist was invited to receive a certificate before the highly commended finalists and the award winners were announced.

The highly commended and winners are:

Citizen Scientist of the Year

Winner: Barbara Sing & Kim Davies


Science Communicator of the Year

Winner: Steve Fisher

Highly Commended: Krista Nicholson


Young ESTEAM Champion of the Year

Winner: Xanthe Turner

Highly Commended: Aaron Johnston


ESTEAM Champion of the Year

Winner (Community): Trish Davies

Winner (Professionals): Lee-Anne Walley

Highly Commended (Community): Helen Coleman

Highly Commended (Professionals): Joanne Harman


Throughout the night, the audience were invited to cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award, which included all finalists from all categories. To close the night, Krista Nicholson was announced as the very worthy winner of this award.

As one attendee commented “it was wonderful learning about the many inspiring people in our community”. Overall the night was successful in celebrating the work being done in Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in the Peel Region, and will hopefully inspire even bigger and better things for next year.

Check out the video of the ceremony here: 


About the author: Cassie grew up in Mandurah and attended Frederick Irwin Anglican School. She is a volunteer with Peel Bright Minds and is in her 3rd year as a Fogarty Scholar studying a Bachelor of Philosophy majoring in Botany at UWA. Cassie has always loved science and maths and is passionate about encouraging others to pursue and experience the opportunities that ESTEAM offers.