Board - Australian Earth Science Education


Mark Thompson


Distinguished Advisor, Exploration, Woodside Energy Ltd
Board Member Since 2012

Mark has over 26 years of experience in oil and gas exploration and development. In 1992 Mark joined Woodside Energy Limited where over a 22 year period he has held a variety of exciting roles with technical and management accountabilities.
He is a member of the APPEA Exploration Subcommittee and Curtin University Geology Advisory Board.

Meryl Jones

Vice Chair

Acting Head of Business Development, St Barbara Ltd

Board Member Since 2016

Meryl is the Acting Head of Business Development at ASX200 gold miner St Barbara Ltd. She has a passion for resources sector education and talent pipeline for the industry’s future. Meryl also has a particular interest in the retention and advancement of women in the sector and is the founder and patron of the Get Into Resources event. Meryl is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and also sits on the Governing Council of North Metropolitan TAFE.

Ryan Noble


Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO
Board Member since 2014

Ryan has a BSc and MSc in Soil Science from the University of Tennessee and a PhD in Applied Geology from Curtin University. He joined CSIRO 10 years ago and has worked on numerous regolith and groundwater geochemistry projects related to gold, base metal, Ni, REE and U mineral exploration. He coordinates a number of CSIRO’s technology transfer activities. Ryan is Vice President and a Fellow of the Association of Applied Geochemists, and a member of the Geoconference committee.

Sandy Sibenaler


VP Treasury and Insurance, Woodside
Board Member Since 2018

Sandy is the Vice President of Treasury and Insurance at Woodside Petroleum Ltd, the largest operator of oil and gas production in Australia.
She has a Bachelor of Commerce (UWA), a Master of Finance (FINSIA) and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
In 2003 Sandy started her career at Ernst & Young in Assurance and Advisory, before moving to Woodside in 2005 to develop her financial and commercial capabilities in the oil and gas sector. Sandy has held a wide variety of roles within Woodside demonstrating extensive knowledge in accounting, finance and commercial matters.

Dr. Sophie Hancock

Executive Member

Board Member Since 2018

Sophie has geology degrees from Imperial College London (MSci with Hons) and Colorado School of Mines (PhD). She creates and delivers collaborative partnerships including a variety of projects and events. These span technical upskilling to transformational positive cultural change addressing both what and how.

Sophie has 14 years global experience in multinational mining (Rio Tinto Exploration), junior exploration (Ur Energy USA, Inc) and consulting sectors (self employed; Atkins Ltd). Drawing on industry and collaborative experience, Sophie is interested in addressing the diversity of technical and educational challenges of the resources inudstry. She is motivated to assist greater engagement with the mining industry to further the reach and results from ESWA. Sophie is excited by the opportunity to enhance the geoscience pipeline by supporting the valuable work of ESWA – a great investment in the future workforce and the future for the resources industry.
Sophie is a member of AIG and sits on the WA state committee, and a member of the AICD.

John Clarke


Science Teachers’ Association of Western Australia (STAWA)
Board Member Since 2010

John has contributed over 40 years to Western Australian Science education spanning the government, catholic and independent education sectors. A secondary science Chemistry teacher and Head of Department, he has presented workshops, written and published text books and organised conferences. His experience extends to state and national curriculum development including the WA Unit Curriculum, WA Chemistry Course of Study, The Australian Curriculum (ACARA: K-10 and Year 11 and 12 Chemistry).
John is currently CEO of the Science Teachers’ Association of Western Australia (STAWA).

Susan Cull

Manager, People and Communities

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia
Board Member Since 2017

Susan is currently employed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia as Manager, People and Communities, and was Senior Policy Adviser for the nine years prior. In addition to her experience in a membership organisation representing the Western Australian resources sector, she is also a registered teacher with primary classroom experience and has provided education support and resources in her previous role as Education Officer with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (2001-2003).

Paula Dewhurst

Academic Director

North Metropolitan TAFE
Board Member Since 2019

Paula Dewhurst is the Director for Science, Resources and Greenskills; which includes Laboratory Operations, Spatial & Surveying, Environment, Water Operations, Mining and Mineral Exploration, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management.

Previous to this role, Paula was the Director of STEM, Building Design and Construction Technology, manager for the traineeship and workplace training unit, and was the project officer for the Green skills renewable energy building project during the planning phase. Paula has over 25 years in education, having been in senior administrative and academic positions in High Schools in both the government and private sector.

Peter Downes

Curator of Minerals

Western Australian Museum
Board Member Since 2018

Peter has a BSc (Hons) in Geology from the University of Queensland and completed his PhD at UWA. His research interests include the mineralogy and geochemistry of lamproites, kimberlites, carbonatites and associated alkaline igneous rocks, secondary minerals from the oxidized zone of Western Australian mineral deposits, the gemstone deposits of Western Australia, and historical mineral collections. He is editor of the Australian Journal of Mineralogy.

Angela Riganti

Content Manager

Geological Survey of WA, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Board Member Since 2018

Angela graduated from the University of Milan (Italy), then completed the MSc in Economic Geology at Rhodes University and a PhD at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) in South Africa. She joined the Geological Survey of Western Australia in 1997, working first as a regional geologist mapping in the Yilgarn Craton, and later as a Content Manager designing geological databases. Throughout her career, she has collaborated in various geotourism and educational projects with different organisations (within and outside government) to foster interest in geoscience and to promote community awareness of the role and importance of the earth sciences in everyday life.

Chris Yeats

Executive Director

Geological Survey of NSW
Board Member 2010-2015, 2020

Chris Yeats is an ore deposit geologist and geochemist with almost 30 years’ experience in precious and base metal exploration and research, in terranes ranging in age from the some of the world’s oldest rocks to modern active seafloor hydrothermal systems.

Chris joined the Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) as Executive Director in June 2015. Prior to this, he spent 17 years as a researcher and manager at CSIRO, where his work focused on the formation of and exploration for gold and base metal deposits in ancient and modern terranes. He has published extensively on gold and base metal systems, and has over 650 career citations. In October 2018, he was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia for his significant scientific contribution and service to Australian geoscience.