Alumni Profiles

Murray Loew Distinguished Chair

Home InstitutionGeorge Washington University
Host InstitutionAustralian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)
Award NameDistinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology (sponsored by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation – DSTO)
Award Year2013

“In military applications, robotics, security, surveillance, and mobile systems, it is essential to have the ability to detect, track, and identify moving objects over a great distance to provide time sufficient for the most appropriate response.”

Professor Murray Loew, Professor with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, at George Washington University, is the inaugural recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology, sponsored by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). Through his Fulbright, Murray will come to the DSTO laboratories in Adelaide Australia for five months to work on the tracking of moving objects.

“This is important for a range of activities including surveillance (of borders, around a base, of shorelines), missile defence, and navigation and collision avoidance (of aircraft, of robots and their end-effectors),” Murray said.

Murray said that because of its ability to observe objects rapidly and at large distances, long-range ground-surveillance radar is used in many of the applications noted above. However radar surveillance of moving objects on and near the ground generates many false alarms. For this reason he will look at fusing imagery (infrared and visible) with radar data to improve the tracking and detection of moving targets in a surveillance setting

“A variety of sensors could be used in support of those tasks, and often it is the case that combining the outputs of multiple sensors will yield more accurate and timely information than can be provided by any single sensor.”

Murray has a BS in electrical engineering from Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University); and an MS and PhD from Purdue University. At GW, he teaches courses in pattern recognition, image analysis, and computer vision. His accomplishments include the development of new techniques to measure the clinical utility of medical-image registration methods in the absence of ground-truth (including recent applications to the analysis of binder materials used in paintings); development and validation of machine-independent algorithms for detecting early bladder cancer in optical coherence tomography imaging; contributing to new theory for quantifying the uncertainty in receiver operating characteristic measurements of classifier performance (important for formal comparisons of classifiers); and he is a Fellow, Inst. of Electrical and Electronics Engrs., and of American Inst. Med. and Biol. Engrg. His interests include photography, music, and travel.

The prestigious Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind, created by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and the U.S. Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the U.S. and 155 countries. In Australia, the scholarships are funded by the Australian and U.S. Governments and corporate partners and administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Canberra.

Virginia Carrieri-Kohlman Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of California San Francisco
Host InstitutionUniversity of Technology Sydney
Award Name2011 Fulbright Senior Scholar
DisciplineMedical Science
Award Year2011

“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is a leading cause of illness and mortality worldwide resulting in an economic and social burden that is both substantial and increasing.”

Professor Virginia (Ginger) Carrieri-Kohlman, a professor with the Department of Physiological Nursing, University of California-San Francisco, has won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to travel to the University of Technology, Sydney for six months to test an online dyspnea self-management intervention for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

“The suffering and disability for people with COPD is primarily due to the symptom of dyspnea or shortness of breath” Ginger said.

Through her Fulbright, Ginger will test the feasibility and efficacy of an Internet-based dyspnea self-management intervention for people with lung disease in Australia. This program has been shown to be effective for people with COPD in the United States.

“If found to be effective internationally, this web-based intervention will transcend geographic barriers and provide tailored monitoring, education, exercise and skills training for people suffering from lung disease in all settings and all phases of illness,” Ginger said.

Ginger has a BS from Cornell University/New York Hospital School of Nursing, an MS and a DNSc from the University of California, San Francisco. She has also won various awards and prizes, including being elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing; election as Helen Nahm UCSF Distinguished Research Lecturer, UCSF School of Nursing; an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award; and a Cornell University-NY Hospital School of Nursing 45th Reunion Distinguished Alumnus Award. She has also published extensively. In her spare time she enjoys, visiting with her three daughters, travelling, gardening, and swimming.

Stuart Cunningham Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionQueensland University of Technology
Host InstitutionUniversity of California
Award NameSenior Scholarship
DisciplineCommunications (Screen Studies)
Award Year2014

“There is no more central issue in film, media and communications studies today than the proposition that we are in the middle of a rapid change…”

Stuart Cunningham is a Distinguished Professor at the Queensland University of Technology and Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

His career as an Australian film, media, communications and cultural studies scholar includes a current directorship of Screen Queensland and a PhD awarded by Griffith University. He will study at the University of California – Santa Barbara from November 2014 to March 2015, focusing on emerging new global online entertainment systems and opportunities for innovation in screen production and distribution.

“There is no more central issue in film, media and communications studies today than the proposition that we are in the middle of a rapid change which is seeing the position of established ‘old’ media challenged by new types of production, dissemination and display. This scholarship centres on the U.S. as a powerhouse in the screen entertainment sector, with far reaching implications for Australia and globally.”

Stuart has a BA (Language and Literature), University of Queensland, MA (Arts), McGill University, PhD (Film Studies), Griffith University.

David Lee Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Miami
Host InstitutionThe University of Sydney
Award NameFulbright Senior Scholarship
DisciplinePublic Health
Award Year2015

Dr. Lee earned his doctorate in Preventive Medicine and Community Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He has been a member of the faculty of the University of Miami since 1990.
Dr. Lee is a tenured Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences within the Miller School of Medicine. Currently, he is the Project Director of the Florida Cancer Data System Cancer Registry, the Co-Founder and Leader of the University of Miami Mind-Body Medical Workgroup (, and the Director of the Department of Public Health Sciences Graduate Programs. Dr. Lee is also a member of the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council at National Institutes of Health.

He has published book chapters and monographs, over 200 peer reviewed journal articles as well as other works and abstracts. Dr. Lee has been involved in the mentoring of students including service on 25 dissertation committees Additionally, students are active members of his research teams contributing to the 50+ student-led publications in leading biomedical journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Preventive Medicine, Cancer, Circulation, Diabetes Care, and the American Journal of Ophthalmology. He is a chronic disease and occupational epidemiologist and has been continuously funded as Principal Investigator on various grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1993. Dr. Lee’s current research interests include: public health applications of mindfulness practices (e.g., yoga, meditation) for the prevention and management of chronic disease, enhancing the health of the US workforce, population approaches toward the reduction of eye disease, and cancer surveillance and prevention.

Dr. Lee will participate in teaching a seminar course on the intersections of psychology and spiritual/contemplative practices and will mentor students. Drs. Lee and Tiliopoulos will also undertake a cross-cultural assessment of mindfulness practices at the University of Sydney, the University of Miami, and Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia.  Physical and psychological health measures will also be assessed to determine if mindfulness practices correlate with these outcomes. Research findings and student engagement will help to further establish the University of Sydney as a leader in mindfulness research and to inspire students to pursue this field of study.

Alex Loukas Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionJames Cook University
Host InstitutionUniversity of California, Irvine
Award NameSenior Scholarship
DisciplineHookworm Vaccines
Award Year2012

“Hookworms are one of the most important parasites of humans in terms of their global health impact. An estimated 600-700 million people are infected with hookworms worldwide, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, South America and parts of Asia.”

Professor Alex Loukas, Professor with the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance, at James Cook University will spend three months at the University of California-Irvine through a Fulbright Senior Scholarship. The scholarship will give Alex the opportunity to work in the U.S. with Dr Phil Felgner at U.C. Irvine, with whom he has recently established a research collaboration into antigens that potentially could be used for development of a hookworm vaccine.

“Helminths (worms) infect 2 billion people in developing countries. Despite the enormous morbidity and mortality that these parasites impose, there are currently no vaccines for any human helminth infection,” Alex said.

“Whilst hookworms can be treated with anthelmintic drugs, this does not prevent re-infection, and there are concerns about resistance to these medications. A vaccine is therefore a highly desirable goal.”

By marrying Professor Felgner’s expertise in cutting edge biotechnological applications with Alex’s extensive helminth vaccinology and immuno-epidemiologcial expertise this project promises to advance the discovery of human hookworm vaccines and establish a very productive US-Australia partnership in infectious diseases research.

Both Professors Loukas and Felgner are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other funding bodies for their vaccine development research, so the Fulbright Scholarship to Prof Loukas is bolstering the collaboration between two very productive research groups and accelerating the global fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Alex has a BSc and a PhD in medical sciences from the University of Queensland. His major achievements include winning the Bancroft-Mackerras medal and Ralph Doherty prize for research leadership; attracting USD$1.6 million in annual research funds to his laboratory; developing vaccines for hookworm and schistosomiasis that are in clinical trials; and being author of more than 180 papers, including senior author papers in Nature Med and Nature Rev Micro. In his spare time he enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family.

Natasha Wiggins Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Tasmania
Host InstitutionUniversity of Tasmania
Award NameBoise State University, Idaho and Washington State University
DisciplineBiological Sciences
Award Year2011

“Sustainable wildlife management strategies in Tasmania need to be based on ecological and behavioural data regarding the interactive processes that involve priority species. This will help us to understand the likely responses of individuals and groups to management efforts.”

Dr Natasha Wiggins, a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Tasmania, is the winner of the 2011 Fulbright Tasmania Scholarship. This scholarship is sponsored by the Tasmanian government and the University of Tasmania and is awarded to an applicant to undertake research in the United States on a topic or issue of importance to the state.

Through her Fulbright, Natasha will investigate the relationship between the pygmy rabbit and its key food source, sagebrush. Her research aims to advance our understanding of how mammalian herbivores, such as the pygmy rabbit, select their food.

“The proposed research will offer crucial insights into the eucalypt herbivore systems in Australia and expand our knowledge of what factors drive herbivore feeding decisions,” Natasha said. “This information is of particular importance in areas where herbivores and humans are directly competing for the same resources.” “Diet availability is considered the overarching driver of herbivore foraging decisions, but recent advances in plant-herbivore ecology suggest that diet quality should also be factored into foraging decisions.”

Natasha will investigate the influence of diet quality, availability and temperature-dependent tolerance to plant chemistry between pygmy rabbits and sagebrush. Her research will provide important insights into how herbivores respond to seasonal differences in diet quality and availability, and the influence that temperature may play in altering herbivore responses to plant chemistry. Natasha’s research will provide a greater insight into eucalypt-herbivore systems in Australia.

Natasha has a BSc and a PhD (Biological Sciences) from the University of Tasmania. She has also received awards and funding including the Winifred Violet Scott Trust; Research funding for sustainable wildlife management from the TCFA: Alternatives to 1080 Program; and the Claudio Alcorso Foundation Environment Prize. In her spare time she enjoys bush walking and hiking, and community involvement in programs which promote wildlife education.

The prestigious Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind, created by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and the U.S. Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the U.S. and 155 countries. In Australia, the scholarships are funded by the Australian and U.S. Governments and corporate partners and administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Canberra. Natasha is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.


Dr Matilda Anderson Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionWestern Health
Host InstitutionHarvard University (TBC)
Award NameFulbright Victoria Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplinePublic Health
Award Year2016

Matilda is currently working as a general surgery trainee doctor at Western Health in Victoria. After pursuing musical interests early completing a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Composition) at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) she changed paths to complete a postgraduate Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (Hons) at the University of Sydney. Since completing her degree, she has pursued her interest in surgery and been accepted onto the general surgery training program through Western Health, Victoria.

Matilda has followed a strong interest in research into system-based change in health care. Her interest stemmed from her Honours project at the Kids Research Institute at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, which investigated the social effects of living with rare diseases on the daily lives of paediatric patients and their families. Since graduating she has pursued research projects that focus on small system based changes to improve patient outcomes. Her work recently has been through the Trauma Department at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, developing a simple checklist to aid doctors performing procedures in acute trauma settings to reduce simple errors and improve patient outcomes.

Matilda has kept up her musical interests, playing cello in the Melbourne Doctor’s Orchestra Corpus Medicorum and saxophone in small ensemble jazz gigs. She has performed in many different countries including the United States. She plays basketball for Melbourne University Ladies team and is a keen boxer. Matilda aims to make a difference not only through her individual work as a doctor but improving the system as a whole, especially within the surgical field.

Matilda aims to complete a Masters of Public Health at Columbia or Harvard University in the USA.  Knowledge gained from these exceptional institutions will guide her research interests as well as her future career based around clinical practice, surgical academia and involvement in health policy and systems.

Specifically, Matilda will focus on studying health behaviours and social determinants of health, in order to better understand what drives levels of health engagement and health literacy in different populations, with the aim to improve overall health care delivery to our diverse community.

Daniel Duke Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionMonash University
Host InstitutionArgonne National Laboratory, Illinois
Award Name2011 Fulbright Nuclear Science and Technology Scholarship sponsored by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Award Year2011

“Sprays are everywhere, but very little is understood about how they work. Sprays result from the disintegration of a flowing liquid due to turbulent hydrodynamic and surface tension forces and as such are extremely complex. They may be one of the most challenging problems facing scientists today.”

Daniel Duke, PhD candidate at Monash University has won the inaugural Fulbright Scholarship in Nuclear Science and Technology sponsored by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Through his Fulbright, Daniel will go to Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois to use pioneering Synchrotron X-ray techniques developed in the US in combination with the methods he has been developing during his PhD to attain a better understanding of the formation of sprays.

“As well as being an enticing intellectual challenge, I want to study sprays because they are important to so many areas. Sprays are employed to deliver drugs, coat surfaces with chemicals and paints, apply pesticides to crops, and to mix air and fuel in internal combustion engines and jet engines, to name just a few areas,” Daniel said. “Ever-increasing demands for efficiency in delivering the appropriate dose of a chemical via spray are pushing the limits of our understanding. Consider the delivery of pesticides to agricultural crops. Limited supply of expensive chemicals is a huge factor in the cost of food production. Yet a large portion of the pesticide never reaches the crop and is blown away because the applicators cannot deliver an optimum droplet size.”

“An improved understanding of sprays will allow us to make a seismic shift in thinking; from design by chance to design for a purpose. This will lead to world-changing innovations in so many areas. We can reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions through the development of cleaner diesel engines. Millions of people in developing nations will also benefit directly from more affordable and available food and medicine. More than ever we need to make this shift, and it is now within our grasp.” Daniel has a BE (Honours)/BTech (Aero) from Monash University, and is in his 3rd year of postgraduate study at the Laboratory for Turbulence Research in Aerospace & Combustion. He is a member of the Golden Key Academic Honour Society, and has won awards including Dux of School, School Captain of Music, an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, and the Monash Prize. His interests include playing trumpet, writing jazz music, cooking, art and politics.

The prestigious Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind, created by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and the U.S. Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the U.S. and 155 countries. In Australia, the scholarships are funded by the Australian and U.S. Governments and corporate partners and administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Canberra. Daniel is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.

Jonathan Gelber Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionPomona College
Host InstitutionUNSW and Sydney Institute of Marine Science
Award Name2011 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar
DisciplineBiology, Molecular Biolody
Award Year2011

“Cholera infects millions of people each year so learning more about this bacterium is critical to improving public health.”

Mr Jonathan Gelber, an Emergency Medical Technician with the Aspen Valley Hospital, has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to spend a year at the University of New South Wales and the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences to research the bacterium Vibrio cholerae (Vc), which causes the deadly illness, cholera.

In particular, Jonathan will research biofilms of Vc. Biofilms are aggregate formations of numerous bacteria, and recently the occurrence of cholera epidemics has been linked to the presence of Vc biofilms.

“Biofilms are important with regards to medicine and public health, as they constitute a refuge for numerous pathogenic bacteria. Biofilms allow bacteria to survive both environmental predation and human immune defense,” Jonathan said.

“Vc can exist as either a pathogenic free-living bacteria, or an even more virulent colony-like biofilm,” Jonathan said. “Though biofilms are abundant in marine habitats, relatively little work has been done to investigate their lifecycles and mechanisms of defense.”

The laboratories at UNSW and SIMS are among the world’s leading centres for biofilm research and Jonathan will work with Dr. Diane McDougald of UNSW and SIMS. SIMS
is one of the few institutions worldwide that has a PC2 aquarium, which Jonathan will use to study the factors that drive the Vc biofilm’s virulence and its resistance to immune systems. Results from his project may be used to predict and even prevent future cholera outbreaks.

Jonathan has a BA in Biology, Summa Cum Laude, from Pomona College in Southern California. He has been awarded various awards and prizes including a Phi Beta Kappa Award, a Sigma Xi Science Research Society award, and the Michael Rosen Outstanding Pre-medical Student Award. In addition to his academic work, Jonathan is a keen musician and has performed drums, guitar, and saxophone in a range of bands. He also volunteers at hospitals and plans to play music and assist in hospitals while in Sydney.

Vafa Darren Ghazavi Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionDepartment of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Host InstitutionJohn F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Award NameFulbright-Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy, Sponsored by the Australian Government, Department of Education and Training
DisciplinePublic Policy
Award Year2016

Vafa Ghazavi is an international cyber policy adviser at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. At Harvard, he will focus on global policy innovation in the digital age, ethics, and behavioural economics.

Vafa is a former Australian diplomat with postings to Afghanistan (2009-2010) and the Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna (2011-2014). In Vienna, he was responsible for Australia’s relations with the United Nations, focusing on transnational drugs and crime issues, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He also led diplomatic engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo during Australia’s term on the UN Security Council. At the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Vafa was a policy officer on the Iraq Task Force, a negotiator on the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, and in the secretariat of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

Previously, Vafa volunteered in the cabinet office of José Ramos-Horta, then Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste, and served as an election monitor during Timor-Leste’s 2007 parliamentary elections.

Vafa is passionate about Indigenous education. He tutors Indigenous students at the Australian National University and worked at a language centre in the East Kimberley through the Jawun secondment program. In Sydney, Vafa mentored high school students through the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and volunteered with the Police Citizens Youth Club in Redfern.

Vafa has a Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences with First Class Honours and the University Medal from the University of Sydney. He served on the university’s Academic Board, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Sydney Globalist international affairs magazine, and was president of the Politics Society, through which he founded the Hedley Bull Memorial Lecture.

Vafa is an avid traveller and enjoys new media, old books and Australian art.

Vafa’s studies at Harvard Kennedy School will focus on global policy in the digital age, ethics, and behavioural economics. He will explore innovative policy responses to transnational challenges, including how to harness big data for the public good, and policies designed to ensure a free and open internet. Vafa will look at how policymakers can promote the development of technologies that help address global challenges such as poverty, gross human rights violations, and armed conflict. He will also examine how countries can prevent conflict and support political transitions that advance human rights and effective governance.

Mark O’Donnell Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Chicago
Host InstitutionThe Australian National University
Award NameFulbright ANU College of Business and Economics Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2012

“The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that an investment of $2.2 trillion in the next five years will be required to make U.S. infrastructure safe. The United States government, with its mounting debt and sagging revenues, will have a difficult time meeting this challenge alone. I feel that encouraging private sector investments in the form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) can help the United States close its infrastructure funding gap.”

Mr. Mark O’Donnell, a recent MBA graduate from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, is the 2012 winner of the Fulbright ANU College of Business and Economics Scholarship. Through his Fulbright, Mark will spend a year at the college undertaking research into private sector investment in infrastructure in Australia.

“In 2008, the Australian Government created Infrastructure Australia to prioritize infrastructure projects,” Mark said. “One of the first things this new agency did was publish the National Public Private Partnership Policy and Guidelines to help minimize transaction costs, remove barriers to private sector participation, and ultimately build a stronger pipeline of PPP projects.”

Mark will study how effective this agency has been in attracting private sector investment in Australian infrastructure, so he can make recommendations for the best practice methods to be applied in the United States.

Mark will be supervised by two ANU professors involved in infrastructure economics, and he will enroll in an applied economics graduate program at ANU. As an outcome of his project, he intends to write a paper that documents the most effective aspects of Australian PPP policy regarding private sector investment. His report will be of interest to policy makers in the U.S., as they further study the feasibility of a U.S. National Infrastructure Bank.

In addition to his MBA, Mark has a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois and a Master of Urban Planning from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has won awards and prizes including the Bronze Tablet from the University of Illinois, the Ron Rice Memorial Scholarship from McGill University, and the Admissions Committee Award from the University of Chicago. He has worked for the last four years in the planning and budget departments of Metra, Chicago’s commuter railroad, and prior to that he worked as an auditor for a commercial bank. He also volunteers as a tutor for and member of the Associates Board of Chicago Lights, a community outreach organization. Further, he is a keen marathon runner and golfer.

Laura Williams Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionMonash University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Minnesota
Award Name2011 International Fulbright Science and Technology Award
Award Year2011

“Land-use changes, invasion of exotic species and fragmentation have caused widespread degradation of ecosystems. Fortunately, this has triggered substantial efforts to mitigate damage and to manage and restore ecosystems. Effective ecological management and restoration depends on sound knowledge of community and ecosystem dynamics.”

Laura Williams, a research assistant at Monash University, is one of two Australians who have won International Fulbright Science and Technology Awards, which are the most prestigious and valuable awards offered by the U.S. Government.  The IS&T Awards cover full tuition, stipend and living expenses for three years to undertake a PhD in the U.S. They are offered to only about 40 people worldwide. Laura will undertake a graduate program in ecology at the University of Minnesota in the U.S. that will help achieve her objectives of developing ecological theory in the context of restoration. This program will combine research and coursework to advance her skills in plant ecology and ecological modelling, and include the capability to specialise in phylogenetic and trait-based community analyses.

“This will complement my current education—undergraduate Arts and Science degrees with Honours in ecology—and research experience—including monitoring the effects of riparian restoration in south-eastern Australia and testing theories of community assembly in tropical rain forest,” Laura said. Studying toward a PhD will help Laura to achieve her career goals by developing her skills in ecological research, teaching and communication. The skills that she will acquire in ecological fields have significant potential to be applied in Australia. Laura has completed a BA and BSc (Honours) at Monash University. She received several awards from Monash University during her studies, including the AR Wallace Prize for her Honours thesis, the Vice Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship, prizes for second and third year biology, Dean’s List Fellowship Awards and Academic Excellence Awards in Geography and Environmental Science.

The prestigious Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind, created by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and the U.S. Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the U.S. and 155 countries. In Australia, the scholarships are funded by the Australian and U.S. Governments and corporate partners and administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Canberra. Laura is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.

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