Scholarship Recipients in 2019
Samuel Hillman, PhD Candidate, RMIT University, Australia
Sam is completing his PhD with the Remote Sensing Centre at RMIT University. Having always had a passion for the outdoors, Sam’s graduated with a Bachelor of Environments from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Geospatial Science from RMIT University before taking up a graduate position with Forest Fire Management Victoria. In conjunction with summer forest firefighting roles, Sam’s work at FFMVic focuses on managing the collection of fuel hazard information across the state. Seeing a growing need to invest in new technologies for efficient collected of fuel hazard data, Sam returned to study to further study while continuing his role with FFMVic part-time.
Sam’s PhD project explores the use of innovative methods for estimating below canopy forest structure for fuel hazard assessments. More specifically, the research investigates the utility of image based and LiDAR point clouds derived from terrestrial and airborne sources to describe the cover, height and structure of below canopy vegetation.
Sam enjoys working with fire scientists and practitioners across Australia to improve the utility of this research. He is currently based in North America collaborating with research partners at the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Montana and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver to test these technologies outside of Australia forest systems. Sam is passionate about connecting innovative research to operations and believes that transitioning to a 3D paradigm will allow the accurate quantification and characterisation of fuel leading to improved operational and ecological decision making.
Megan Rennie, Master of Science, Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno
Megan completed her bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences with a minor in Mathematics in 2018 at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is working on her Masters in the Atmospheric Sciences program with a certification in Renewable Energy from the College of Engineering. Megan has always had an interest in aerosols and their interactions with the atmosphere. Megan presently works as a graduate research assistant in the Division of Atmospheric Sciences at the Desert Research Institute where she performs open combustion in the laboratory measuring the chemical and optical properties from the aerosols that are emitted. She is studying the biomass burning emissions from the invasive species of the U.S. Intermountain West where more frequent wildland fires are changing the landscape ecology.