New faces at MIWATCH

MIWATCH recently welcomed a team of research assistants who are already working across MIWATCH projects ranging from data analytics, lab work to field sampling (see last week's blog by Holly Cooke who we have welcomed back as a research assistant based in Adelaide)!

Sijia Wang

Sijia Wang
Sijia Wang

“Sijia” in Chinese carries the connotation of yearning for one's hometown, but having moved to Brisbane five years ago, she certainly took the plunge and is making the most of new experiences!

While in Brisbane she completed a four-year undergraduate degree at The University of Queensland. Sijia's major in Earth Resources, part of her Environmental Science studies, gave her the chance to familiarize herself with the Earth and its processes, sparking a deep-seated fascination. This fascination extends to all aspects of rocks, encompassing the surrounding environment, plants, and water, all of which captivate her curiosity.

“Benefiting from its strong culture of inclusivity, SMI has provided me with an excellent opportunity to participate in fieldwork, allowing me to travel to Normanby, Mt Perry in Queensland to collect waste rocks. Under the leadership of our legend Francesco!!!

“The field experience was incredibly meaningful as we gathered a wealth of intriguing rocks as well as we encountered some of our wild companions, a wild pig, a frog mistaken for a snake with its head was visible only, and little kangaroos, along with intriguing ferns.”

Sijia, still in the process of growth, feels incredibly honoured to work with MIWATCH and be a part of the SMI, where she engages in various data tasks and learns about geochemistry, deepening her research capabilities.

Rose Ridgeway

Rose Ridgeway
Rose Ridgeway

While Rose might sound as British as they come, her background is anything but. Growing up on a research basecamp in Indonesia, Rose encountered more animals than humans for the first few years of her life. With the camp based on a mining concession deep in the jungles of Borneo, her connection with mining started at a young age.

Rose’s academic background is in the arts, with a Bachelor in Classical Studies and French from Royal Holloway University in London in 2012. She has lived and worked in numerous countries, including France, Greece, Indonesia and Australia.

Her introduction to Australian mining was thanks to an accidental diversion in holiday plans which ended her on an opal mine in Western Queensland in 2015. The gruelling lifestyle in the outback and underground mining was surprisingly addictive (not so much the dust!) and two mining seasons later, Rose came out with her sustainable jewellery business, Cicely Cliff, in mind.

Using repurposed precious metals from electronics to redefine luxurious jewellery, Rose has run this business since 2017 and enjoys the look of surprise on people’s faces when she tells them her earrings are made out of iPads.

Rose is currently halfway through a Masters of Environmental Management at The University of Queensland St Lucia campus, where she combines her childhood love of all things nature and environment with a fascination with repurposing and recycling metals. She enthusiastically joins the MIWATCH team, keen to get her hands dirty and pursuing new ways to extract metals from waste products!

Dr Tomás Cortes

Tomás Cortes
Tomás Cortes

Tomás León is a geologist with a rich academic and professional background in natural hazards and sedimentology. His journey into geology began with a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Chile (2007-2014), where he embarked on a project to understand the marine geology of a bay in northern Chile. This experience ignited his passion for the undersea and the geological processes that shape our shores.

Driven by his fascination with geological natural hazards, Tomás pursued a Master in Earth Science at the University of Chile (2016-2018). His research focused on studying high-energy wave deposits to uncover historical coastal flooding from tsunamis and palaeotsunamis, pushing the boundaries of recorded history. In 2020, Tomás moved to Australia to pursue a PhD at The University of Queensland, where he was recently awarded his degree. His doctoral research aimed to improve tsunami hazard assessments in North-Central Chile through the sedimentary characterization of onshore deposits and advanced numerical modelling. By quantifying onshore flow characteristics and induced sediment transport of both historical and palaeotsunamis, Tomás's work contributes to better understanding and mitigating tsunami hazards on Chile's coasts.

While his academic career has predominantly focused on natural hazards, Tomás has developed a versatile skill set that includes geological characterization, coding, and numerical modelling. These skills enable him to tackle diverse challenges and collaborate on multidisciplinary projects, ranging from environmental studies to mining. Coming from Chile, a country where mining is a cornerstone of the economy, Tomás gained valuable professional experience in the copper mining industry. He excelled in managing large geological databases, ensuring data quality, and integrating databases with GIS for precise spatial representation of geological data, thereby enhancing prospecting accuracy.

Motivated by his passion for research and applying geology for environmental purposes, Tomás has recently joined the MIWATCH team. He is excited to bring his expertise in sediment analysis, coding, and GIS to contribute to innovative projects, while also looking forward to exploring the fascinating world of recycling and extracting metals from mining waste products.

Last updated:
20 June 2024