Alumni Updates

Lucas (Tuan) Tran – Energy Engineer

2021 Cooper Energy / Playford Trust Petroleum Engineering Scholarship

In 2017, I came to Australia as an international student from Vietnam to pursue a world-class education in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Adelaide. After finishing my Honours degree, I began my PhD project, in which I studied and optimised the application of liquid foams in the fracture stimulation practice at high-temperature gas reservoirs.

In 2021, I was very fortunate to receive the Cooper Energy / Playford Trust Scholarship for my Doctoral degree. The scholarship has not only provided a significant financial support for my study but also helped extend my professional network. 

Not long after receiving the scholarship, I had an opportunity to work for my sponsoring company, Cooper Energy, as a vacation student in the Operations Team. During that three-month period, I got to see and solve real world challenges in the organisation. After the vacation program, I was honoured to be offered a part-time then full-time position in the company’s Production Planning Department.

The best thing about my role is that it is not only technical but also covers multiple aspects of the business, such as commercial, sustainability and strategy planning, all of which are crucial for my career development in the energy sector.

I am extremely grateful to the Playford Trust and Cooper Energy for their continued support throughout my studies and in the early stage of my career. The journey would not be possible without the strong support and great leadership from my managers, Dean Johnson and Nathan Childs.

In 2023, it was my honour to proudly represent Cooper Energy to present certificates to the succeeding recipients of the Playford Trust scholarships.




More Alumni Updates

Susan Lee – Environmental pioneer

2006 Playford Trust PhD Environmental Scholarship
I was the first student to receive a Playford Trust Environment Scholarship in 2006. Studies in the environment tend to include a lot of fieldwork and trips away from civilisation, so the scholarship really helped me with these costs!

Robert Trott – Exoskeleton and physiological measurement

2017 Playford Trust PhD Scholarship
Robbie is now working as a Research Fellow at the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) – a national leader in industry and workplace innovation research – and he’s based at Flinders University.

Bec Pedler – R&D technician, Clean Seas Seafood

2019 Playford Trust Regional Science & Engineering Scholarship
Marine mollusc extracts represent an almost entirely unexploited source of broad-spectrum antivirals against human viruses. My Honours project involved assessing the hemolymph (blood fluid) from the Greenlip abalone and Pacific oyster for antiviral activity against Human Coronavirus…

Alexander Makarowsky – Maths modelling and energy

2018 Codan/Playford Trust Engineering Scholarship
The year after winning his scholarship, Alex joined the company that sponsored him – Codan/Minelab Electronics. There he used mathematical modelling to optimise the geometry of metal detector coils.

Joe Kupke – Man of the trees

2018 Playford Trust/TAFE SA Award
At the time Joe received his Playford Trust Award, he was employing just two staff in his arborist business, Adelaide Hills Tree Services. Now there are 10 on the team…

Phiala Shanahan – Professor of Physics at MIT

2011 Scantech/Playford Trust scholarship
In 2020, respected Science News magazine named Phiala one of its Top 10 elite young scientists ‘pushing the boundaries of scientific enquiry’. All of those honoured…

Georgina Duguid – Structural design engineer

2018 Playford Trust Honours Scholarship
Having completed my Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Flinders University in 2018, I am working as a structural design engineer with Mineral Technologies/Downer EDI – the company…

Michael Dello-Lacovo – Space scientist

2014 AusIMM/Playford Trust Honours Scholar
I received the AusIMM/Playford Trust Scholarship for my Honours degree in geophysics in 2014 for the thesis topic ‘heat flow and geothermal energy in South Australia’….

Kate Delaporte – Curator, Waite Arboretum

1996 Playford Trust PhD Scholarship
Kate was only the third student to receive a Playford Trust scholarship. Now she’s Curator of SA’s Waite Arboretum and Senior Lecturer at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide…


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