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Following a Ritchie legacy in chemistry

Following a Ritchie legacy in chemistry

Date Published: 30-Nov-16

ChemCentre forensic scientist Romy Keane has been awarded the Ian Ritchie Achievement Award for her outstanding work in drug and alcohol analysis. Romy oversees the WAPOL (WA Police) roadside oral fluid program, under which ChemCentre received over 3000 samples for analysis. Romy’s excellent time management skills have reduced the average turnaround time of these samples from 20 to 15 days.

Romy’s team leader Francois Oosthuizen said she had developed superior skills as a chemist to such an extent that she forms the backbone of the WAPOL toxicology team.

“Romy is well-respected by her colleagues, who often seek her opinion on scientific, procedural and casework issues,” said Francois.

Romy said that wining the Ian Ritchie Award was one of the greatest highlights of her career to date.
(L to R): ChemCentre Board Member John Farrow, Romy Keane, Ann Ritchie, ChemCentre CEO Peter Millington
“ChemCentre provides an integral service to the Western Australian community and it provides a sense of both professional and personal satisfaction to have my contribution to this service recognized,” said Romy.

“I was very honoured to even be nominated for the award, especially alongside such a strong field of nominees. Winning the award provides me with not only a fantastic opportunity for career development but also a significant sense of accomplishment.”

Adam Holman, a scientist in the Forensic Chemistry’s Illicit Drug team, was this year’s Ritchie Early Career Award winner. Adam has made a number of outstanding contributions to ChemCentre’s Forensic Science team including his work on the section’s quarterly newsletter, which has an international readership, and a project on low weight street drug seizures which has helped educate police, prosecutors and health professionals on changes in community drug practices.
“Adam is one of ChemCentre’s ‘quiet achievers’ who is involved in challenging work without seeking recognition, despite the input of time and effort on his behalf,” said Dominic Reynolds, Manager Forensic Chemistry.

Congratulations to Romy and Adam!
The Ian Ritchie Awards are held annually to recognise ChemCentre staff who make outstanding contributions to the organisation. They are named to honour the late Professor Ian Ritchie, a Western Australian chemist of international repute and pioneering spirit.

Astute observers of ChemCentre will notice that the name Ian Ritchie frequently pops up in relation to ChemCentre – as well as the annual staff awards bearing his name, so too does the annual Ritchie ChemCentre Scholarship in Chemistry, which is awarded to a Murdoch University student to recognise a student’s enthusiasm for chemistry and application to their studies. And ChemCentre is located in the Ian Ritchie Wing of the Resources and Chemistry Precinct at Curtin University.

Ian Ritchie was a leading expert in corrosion science, a visionary in hydrometallurgy, and a tireless worker. He was instrumental in enhancing the role and function of ChemCentre and it is appropriate that his name lives on in the organisation.

The 2016 Ritchie ChemCentre Scholarship in Chemistry will be awarded in December.

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