Past GSAQ medal recipients - image courtesy GSAQ

2005 Neville Stevens Medal Winner

Dr Scott Hocknull
Scott Hocknull's Citation - presented by Neville Stevens

Scott's passion for Earth Science started in high school, where he organised field trips for fellow students and became a volunteer for Queensland Museum. In 1993 Scott presented a paper at a CAVEPS conference entitled "Life as a Secondary School Student in Palaeontology". Then at the age of 16, he published his first paper on a new species of fossil freshwater bivalve.  After secondary school Scott decided to defer University and volunteer for an entire year at the Queensland Museum, including field trip participation and continued palaeontological research.

Scott Hocknull (right) receiving his medal from Neville Stevens (left).

After secondary school, Scott was employed as an Interpretation Officer at Queensland Museum.  For a year, he organised talks and workshops for the general public and schools, before starting a Bachelor degree at the University of Queensland (UQ). During his university studies Scott continued to give presentations at CAVEPS and won the student prize in 1997 for the best student talk. As a second year and only undergraduate presenter, this came as a very pleasant surprise.   Scott was also involved in the UQ Biological Society, as Secretary, then President, coordinating talks and workshops in natural history.

In 2001 Scott became the youngest curator in Australia at the Queensland Museum and in 2002 Scott was awarded Young Australian of the year. During this time he presented on average 3 talks per week. His role included being Youth Week Ambassador and talking to disadvantaged children about careers, science and palaeontology. Scott also presented many and varied talks to many and varied groups, including; the Australian institute of management, at the conference for injury awareness week, Ballarat Science Expo as part of Sleek Geek week and for Geosciences Australia.

A highlight for Scott was his chance to talk about Earth Sciences and Australian Palaeontology with Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip, during there visit in 2002.

Scott presented a number of Palaeontology classes throughout the Northern Territory on his Tour of Duty.  These included talks to aboriginal communities in Pine Creek, Katherine, Alice Springs, Darwin and Gove.  Scott has appeared on a number of television shows talking and promoting palaeontology; including National Geographic Channel, Local News Channels, The Panel, The Glass House, Totally Wild, Hot Source and Bop.

After passing on the Young Australian title, Scott continued to spread his passion for earth science through presentations at conferences, schools, for societies and volunteer groups. In 2003 Scott was a finalist in the Eureka Awards for science communication and a Centenary Medalist.

Currently Scott is a member of the Spotlight on Science Taskforce, overseeing the future of science education in Queensland. He is also involved with the development of Palaeotourism, through the organisation of several field digs and helps develop teaching programs for education officers at Queensland Museum.  At the same time, Scott is completing his PhD on the Mt Etna fossil Fauna, climate change over the past 5 million years.

Response of thanks by Scott Hocknull
I do not remember if you might remember, Neville, but about in 1993 you might have received a letter from a very strange little boy who had a passion for palaeontology and dinosaurs. He lived just south of Brisbane. Your advice to him was to join the GSA and in fact if I hadn’t joined the GSA I would not have received the Alcheringa and the other journals that came out. If I would not have received all those I would not have known about all the things that are happening in Geology in this country and the state.

Thank you very much for doing that to me as a kid, although I got teased for it.  It was one of the best things I did.

Thank you very much GSA for honouring me with this medal. Palaeontology and communication sciences is a big thing and for those students (that are) who are really interested in earth sciences always think that science communicating is part of your everyday life, because in the end it will be part of your life and the best part of your dreams.