ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society's Dr Ceridwen Fraser has been named the ACT Scientist of the Year.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr presented Dr Fraser with the award today at Lyneham Primary, where she went to school, in recognition of her work on the influence of environmental conditions, including past and future climate change, on global biodiversity.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC congratulated Dr Fraser on her award.
"To be recognised as the ACT Scientist of the Year is a great honour and wonderful recognition of Ceridwen's excellent contribution to the ACT, Australia and the world," Professor Schmidt said.
Dr Fraser's research has informed our understanding of past climate change in Antarctica, in particular, and associated impacts on life there.
"How plants and animals have responded to climate change in the past can tell us a lot about how they might respond in the future, with the very fast climate change that we're starting to see now," she said.
"I'm really motivated by the excitement of new discoveries. Sometimes they're not at all what you were expecting, so they can make you change the way you see the world and that keeps you wanting to go on and find the next big thing."
As part of the ACT Scientist of the Year award, Dr Fraser will be a science ambassador for the ACT.
The biogeographer said she was honoured by the recognition.
"I'm thrilled to have been chosen to represent the ACT's many excellent scientists this year, and I look forward to visiting lots of ACT schools to speak to students about my research and careers in science," she said.
"I hope that my research will help the world to see the ACT as a dynamic research hub, and a mover and a shaker beyond politics."
Dr Fraser is passionate about helping to discover the next generation of scientists.
"I really enjoy engaging with primary and secondary school students, who are full of enthusiasm and fantastic ideas," she said.
A video interview with Dr Ceridwen Fraser is on ANU YouTube channel.