A love for STEM & A Lifetime Opportunity

On the previous edition of our newsletter, we congratulated Gabriela Coehlo, who has been awarded the Andy Thomas Scholarship at the University of Adelaide. Gabriela was selected for her academic success, as well as her strong commitment to service of her school and community. She graduated from St Aloysius College in 2021, where she was the Student Representative Council President, achieved an adjusted Selection Rank of 99.95, Merit Awards in Research Project B and Society and Culture, and a Dux Award in Italian (Continuers). Always striving for excellence, she has received Academic Excellence awards since 2014, the 2016 Josiah Mitton Award for the best all-round student, the 2021 Catherine McAuley Service Award for outstanding service to the community, and is a Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Recipient. 

Gabriela has always had a genuine passion for STEM and leadership, with her referee also sharing that “Gabriela embraces every opportunity to serve the marginalised in our community, extending kindness and friendship to all.” From making Star Wars’ BB-8 from scratch, receiving the ROWE Scientific Award and a High Commendation at the Oliphant Science Awards in 2018, completing a week-long Work Experience placement at Aurecon in 2019, partaking in the 2021 ECMS Space Industry Work Experience Placement, and attending the 2021 National Youth Science Forum to being interviewed by The Advertiser in 2020 regarding her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award journey, and donating over 120cm of her hair to Variety to aid in making wigs for children with diseases that result in hair loss, she is constantly seeking ways to embrace her passions.  

She is intrigued and inspired by South Australia’s growing space industry and is eager to put her passions to work by helping drive progress in space innovation, education and research in our state. 

Gabriela’s Reflection:

Every year, the Playford Trust, the Andy Thomas Space Foundation, and the University of Adelaide jointly sponsor high-achieving school-leavers commencing a degree in Engineering, with the aim of majoring in Aerospace Engineering. It is a privilege to be the recipient of this scholarship, particularly alongside so many dedicated and intelligent young Australians who are achieving significant milestones in their respective STEM career. My love for STEM was always nurtured at St Aloysius College. I was empowered to follow whatever career I wished and given the courage to become a woman in the male-dominated field of Engineering. Of course, this would not have been possible without the guidance, support and care put in by all my teachers. A special thanks must go to Ms Paddy McEvoy, Ms Jacqui Mcilroy and Ms Julie Stephenson for their endless support in the application process, and to Mr Paolo Arman and Mr Thomas Cotton, who inspired my passion for Engineering. I look forward to starting my degree later this month at the University of Adelaide.