The New Zealand Geotechnical Society and the Australian Geomechanics Society recently held the 12th Australia New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics (ANZ 2015) in Wellington, New Zealand. At this conference, University of Wollongong’s Dr Udeshini Pathirage was announced as the winner of the Young Professional-Australia Award for her outstanding paper in the area of Mathematical Simulation and Field Monitoring of Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRB) for Improving Acid Sulphate Soil terrains in Coastal Australia.

This is awarded to the paper judged as best to be submitted by a young professional (under 35 years of age) together with the individual’s contributions to the field.

Udeshini’s field work was conducted in Nowra in our Acid Sulphate Soils Experimental site, and she had to travel often to Nowra for PRB monitoring and for installing site instrumentation and to maintain the site (sometimes subjected to vandalism), and this was never an easy task for an overseas student. Udeshini was an Endeavour PhD student from Sri Lanka, and after her completion, decided to continue her research as an ARC funded Research Associate. She has been a role model in many ways helping our Faculty with various Women in Engineering activities, and also helping immensely with the ARC Centre of Excellence activities too.