Alumni Profiles

Robert Shellie Distinguished Chair

Home InstitutionUniversity of Tasmania
Host InstitutionPurdue University
Award NameTasmania State Senior Scholarship
DisciplineChemistry – Analytical Chemistry
Award Year2013

“Chemical measurement usually involves taking samples to a laboratory where an analyst makes measurements using specialized scientific instrumentation. However, a preferred tactic in many circumstances may be to employ miniaturized instrumentation, permitting the analyst to ‘bring the laboratory to the sample’.”

Associate Professor Robert Shellie, ARC Australian Research Fellow, with the University of Tasmania (UTAS) is this year’s winner of the Fulbright Tasmania Scholarship sponsored by the Tasmanian State Government and UTAS. Robert will go to Purdue University for three months to further his work in the development of an in-situ system for chemical measurement of environmental pollutants in remote locations. This could be used in locations such as Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic, and by extension industrial sites, and remote communities.

Robert has led research into developing instrumentation for environmental monitoring of fuel spills in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic, and this is what sparked his interest in the development of this technology.

“Having performed work in the AAD laboratory at Macquarie Island as part of Australia’s 2007-2008 Antarctic Program, I became acutely aware of the need to develop readily transportable instrumentation for performing chemical analysis in remote locations,” Robert said.

“I have since developed a significant interest in miniaturized instrumentation and my research group is currently developing and testing field-transportable instrumentation. In the future I aim to intensify development of miniaturized instrumentation for chemical analysis of complex mixtures in my research group.”

Robert has a BAppSc and a PhD in chemistry from RMIT University. He has won awards and prizes including a Australian Research Council Australian Research Fellowship; a Royal Australian Chemical Institute Robert Cattrall Medal;  Australian Institute of Policy and Science Tasmanian Young Tall Poppy of the Year; and a University of Tasmania Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence. He has also published extensively. His interests include music, art, and renovating.

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.

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.

Dr Fatemeh Salehi Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionMacquarie University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Michigan
Award NameFulbright Future Scholarship (Funded by The Kinghorn Foundation)
Award Year2021

Fatemeh is currently a senior lecturer at the School of Engineering and Co-Director of Sustainable Energy Research Centre (SERC) at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on developing computational models for turbulent flows to advance clean energy technologies.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Fatemeh will spend four months at the world-class clean energy laboratory at the University of Michigan to create a new cost-effective computer tool for modelling spray flows in combustion devices. This will assist the design of engines with extremely low emissions. The significance of such accurate spray models will also benefit other applications, notably flame spray pyrolysis for nanoparticle synthesis and inhalers. Her aim is to take this opportunity for establishing a sustainable bilateral partnership between Macquarie University and the University of Michigan at the institutional level that will facilitate collaboration in the field of clean energy beyond the timeframe of this project.

Luke Bo’sher Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionNational Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Host InstitutionNew York University
Award NameAnne Wexler Masters in Public Policy (sponsored by the Department of Education)
DisciplinePublic Policy
Award Year2014

Luke Bo’sher is the 2014 Australian Anne Wexler Scholar. He currently works for the Australian Government on the design and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Luke has previously served as the Chairperson of the national peak body for children and young people (the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition). Luke is also undertaking a research project into the role of Australian superannuation companies in funding social impact through their investment portfolio.

He will undertake a Master of Public Policy (MPP), focusing on social and urban policy from August 2014. This course of study provides a background in quantitative economics, public finance and innovation as they apply to social policy. In particular, he will focus on current social innovations and Social Impact Bonds in the United States. Social Impact Bonds radically change traditional approaches to funding social services, by only paying for success (e.g. the number of people no longer sleeping rough), thereby encouraging innovation and a focus on outcomes.

“The experience of studying in the United States will enable me to bring back lessons for Australia on implementing Social Impact Bonds in response to some of Australia’s most significant social challenges, such as reducing Indigenous incarceration and education for disengaged young people. Leading a team to design a market and proposals for Social Impact Bonds and other innovative social finance models, would involve mentoring others I work with to share this experience and pass on skills and expertise. Further, I intend to establish a Social Impact Bonds network in Australia where people interested in this work will be able to share information, ideas and experiences to link with the Kennedy School’s “Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab”. This would facilitate ongoing conversations and sharing of knowledge between Australia and the United States.”

Samuel Cheeseman Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionRMIT University
Host InstitutionNorth Caroline State University, Raleigh
Award NameFulbright Future Scholarship (Funded by The Kinghorn Foundation)
DisciplineMaterials Science
Award Year2020

Sam graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Science (Advanced), with a major in Microbiology and received First Class Honours in Biotechnology from Swinburne University of Technology. His current PhD research at RMIT University involves the development of functional nanomaterials for antimicrobial applications to combat the rapid development of antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic micro-organisms. During his time at North Carolina State University, Sam will work under Professor Michael Dickey, a world leading researcher in material science, which will complement his background in microbiology. In particular, his project will involve the manipulation of liquid metals to develop stimuli-activated antimicrobial nanomaterials for biomedical applications. North Carolina has a prominent biotechnology sector and start-up scene. The Fulbright Scholarship will provide Sam with a deeper understanding of how to successfully bridge the gap between academia and industry. He hopes to share this knowledge with fellow researchers on his return to Australia.

Millicent Cripe Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionYale University
Host InstitutionCentre for Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), University of Sydney
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplinePublic Policy
Award Year2016

Millicent Cripe graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in May 2016 with a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Health and Societies. Originally from Indianapolis, IN, Millicent entered Yale with the class of 2015 as a prospective political science major. After her freshman year, she interned at the White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE), which convinced her to take a leave of absence in the Fall 2012 semester to work to re-elect President Obama. She moved to Columbus, Ohio and was a field organiser with Obama for America. She took the Spring 2013 semester off after a serious accident and returned to Yale in the Fall 2013 semester as part of the class of 2016.

Millicent’s lifelong interest in domestic policy narrowed to a specific passion for U.S. healthcare policy after taking the course “Healthcare Economics & Public Policy,” where she became captivated by the challenge of curbing the large and growing percentage of US public dollars that are spent on healthcare, which leave less money for the other domestic investments that Millicent believe are important: education, criminal justice reform, and job training, to name a few. She believes that public policy can be used as a tool to shape a healthcare system that is ethical, equitable, and economically sustainable.

In the time between graduating from Yale and travelling to Australia in January, Millicent went back on the Presidential campaign trail for former Secretary Hillary Clinton. She is the campaign’s Regional Training Director in Virginia, a battleground state.

Millicent believes that the U.S. healthcare system can derive valuable lessons from the example of Australia’s health care system, which is also a mixed public-private system. For her Fulbright, Millicent is conducting a comparative case study of two of Australia’s Primary Health Networks, which seek to harness the efficiency of the private sector towards publicly defined goals, a model increasingly being piloted in the US as well.

In her year in Sydney, Millicent hopes to see as much of Australia as possible, exploring both the mountains and the beaches on weekend trips.

Amy Dennison Postgraduate Students

Amy Dennison
Home InstitutionUniversity of New South Wales
Host InstitutionHarvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government
Award NameFulbright Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy
DisciplinePublic Policy
Award Year2018

Amy works for the Northern Territory Government in energy and environment policy. She is interested in how government and industry can ensure the ecologically sustainable development of non-renewable resources. Amy has a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering with first class Honours and the University Medal and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales. She placed first and received the Dean’s Medal for her Master of Laws in Mineral Law and Policy from the University of Dundee in the UK. Amy has worked as an environmental engineer in India, a corporate lawyer in Sydney and New York, and with traditional Aboriginal owners as a land rights and native title lawyer in the Northern Territory.

Amy will use the Fulbright Scholarship to undertake a mid-career Masters of Public Affairs at a leading Public Policy school in the United States. Her long-term goal is to lead the development of policies and laws that will ensure the sustainable development of energy and resource projects in Australia.

James Dingley Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionThe University of Western Australia
Host InstitutionMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Award NameFulbright Western Australia Scholarship/Fulbright Future Scholarship (Funded by The Kinghorn Foundation)
DisciplineSpace Systems Engineering in Aeronautics and Astronautics
Award Year2021

James is an engineer, entrepreneur, and educator passionate about Australia’s role in space exploration and sustainable commercialisation of the final frontier. He is especially excited about the colonisation of Mars but believes Australia’s shortterm focus should be on the utilisation of satellite technology through the design and launch of its own sovereign satellite constellation. James completed an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and Finance from the University of Western Australia where he co-founded and lead the UWA Aerospace rocketry team. He has worked closely with academics and industry to further develop Western Australia’s space capabilities. James’ research experience includes microgravity test platforms, supersonic jet noise reduction, satellite constellation design, and Martian laser communications. James is creator and host of the popular engineering YouTube channel ‘Atomic Frontier’.

James will use his Fulbright Scholarship to strengthen institutional and industrial relations between the Australian and American space sectors. He will continue to inspire the next generation of engineers required for the colonisation of Mars and beyond

Kristen Lear Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionOhio Wesleyan University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne
Award Name2011 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar
Award Year2011

“The population size of the Southern Bent-wing Bat has declined dramatically in the last 50 years. Numerous threats have been proposed as potential factors in this decline. It is not known whether the breeding caves in Naracoorte have a role in the decline.”

Ms Kristen Lear, a recent graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University, has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to come to Naracoorte Caves National Park for a year to study population trends and breeding success of the Southern Bent-wing Bat. Kristen will work with the University of Melbourne, South Australian Museum, the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment on her project.

Through her Fulbright, Kristen aims to help fill in some of the knowledge gaps in the population trends of the Southern Bent-wing Bat through the development of an automated counting system to monitor the population.

“The Southern Bent-wing Bat is listed as Critically Endangered due to severe population declines and its dependence on only two breeding sites,” Kristen said.

“We need to know what is causing the decline, in order to recommend the most effective management actions.”

The new monitoring technique will use an innovative missile tracking system to provide invaluable information about the population trends and breeding success of the bat.

With Lindy Lumsden of the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, Cath Dickson of the SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Terry Reardon of the South Australian Museum and Steve Bourne of the Friends of Naracoorte Caves, Kristen will examine two key factors using the new technology. The first aims to accurately estimate the population size and population trends at the breeding site. The second is developing techniques to accurately estimate breeding success and survival rates.

While she is in Australia Kristen will also work with the community to help bring awareness and understanding of this bat species to members of the public, so that they develop a vested interest in its conservation.

Kristen has a BA in Pre-Professional Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University. She has won awards and prizes including the Soroptimist International Virginia M. Wagner Educational Grant and the Ohio Wesleyan John N. Chase Scholarship for academic promise in the field of zoology. In her spare time she takes part in Campus Girl Scouts and volunteers to educate the community about bats.

Somya Mehra Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne
Host InstitutionHarvard University
Award NameFulbright Future Scholarship (Funded by The Kinghorn Foundation)
Award Year2020

Somya is currently a research assistant at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and Burnet Institute. Over the past two years, she has been researching the epidemiology of malaria, with a focus on parasite genomics. Somya has also developed mathematical models of parasite dynamics and host immunity as student researcher at the University of Melbourne. In 2020, Somya will commence a Master of Science (Mathematics and Statistics) at the University of Melbourne. Her project will focus on barcoding, a genomic tool that involves taking DNA ‘fingerprints’ from malaria parasites to uncover transmission dynamics and population connectivity. Using mathematical models of the parasite genome, Somya will investigate the ability of barcoding to capture trends in parasite relatedness. As a Fulbright Future Scholar, she will work with Caroline Buckee’s team at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health to optimise barcoding, with the aim of maximising outputs from genomic surveillance in malaria endemic areas. 

Tracey Steinrucken Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionWestern Sydney University and CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship
Host InstitutionUniversity of California Berkeley
Award NameQueensland State Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineBiology (Plant pathology and ecology)
Award Year2015

Tracey is a plant ecologist with a particular interest in invasive plant pathology and molecular biology. Invasive plants have profound economic, environmental and social impacts around the world. Innovative methods to control these weeds are continuously sought to reduce herbicide use and avoid expensive manual removal. Tracey’s research focuses on Parkinsonia aculeata, an invasive thorny tree that was originally introduced from Central America as a garden tree or hedge. Currently covering over 1 million hectares of northern Australia, Parkinsonia impacts heavily on the beef and pastoral industries and native biodiversity.  Over the last decade, farmers and scientists have noticed a phenomenon known as “dieback” or “decline” in some populations. Dieback has reduced the size of these invasive populations, sometimes achieving levels of control that would be impossible or at least very expensive to achieve manually. However the cause of dieback remains unknown and this is where Tracey’s research comes in.

Already making great progress in her PhD, Tracey has narrowed down the cause of Parkinsonia dieback.  By combining field studies with laboratory and molecular methods, she was excited to reveal that there is a significant difference between the microbial communities in dieback-affected Parkinsonia compared to healthy plants in the same area: this is the first step to identifying a potential biological control tool to supplement current management strategies.  Her creative approach to communicating her results saw her representing her university at the Trans-Tasman Three-Minute Thesis competition this year in Perth.

Tracey is a global citizen.  After growing up in South Africa, migrating to Australia, working at a summer-camp in Truckee, CA and studying in Australia and Sweden, she considers travel to be one of her favourite pastimes. Tracey has graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Science from Deakin University in Melbourne and a Master’s in Science from Lund University in Sweden. She did her Honours in Applied Science at RMIT University with a scholarship from the Victoria Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Tracey found invasion ecology and plant pathology fascinating so she decided to do a PhD along the same lines, enrolling at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University. She is now based in Brisbane with the CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship for the duration of her PhD, and has a research grant from Meat and Livestock Australia. In addition to her research, Tracey is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology tutor at the University of Queensland.

Tracey is a keen sportswoman, loves wildlife and the outdoors.  She plays soccer and softball for local teams, is a rugby fan, and regularly goes camping, four-wheel driving and hiking. She is a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer, looking after injured and sick native snakes prior to their release.

During her time in the States, Tracey hopes to visit local Parkinsonia field sites in the southern states and California to determine if dieback occurs in North or South American populations or in closely-related species. Working with the Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab at UC Berkeley will allow her access to world-renowned knowledge and experience, particularly in the field of diagnostics. She will investigate dieback in other invasive plant populations in the US to compare the epidemiology and pathology of similar diseases, which will allow for insights into Parkinsonia decline in Australia.

Whilst in the US, she is keen to get involved in Women in Science programs at UC Berkeley, play soccer for a local team and enhance her communication skills by attending and presenting seminars. She also can’t wait to explore the spectacular National Parks in California.

Liam Turner Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionMonash University
Host InstitutionWashington State University
Award NameFulbright Future Scholarship (Funded by The Kinghorn Foundation)
DisciplineEnergy Engineering and Cryogenics
Award Year2022

Liam is committed to accelerating the uptake of Hydrogen as a reduced carbon emission fuel for heavy transport. His current research is focussed on the design of liquid Hydrogen storage systems through his PhD studies with the Woodside-Monash Energy Partnership. Storing Hydrogen as a liquid can offer increased density and transportation efficiency compared to storing Hydrogen as a gas. However, liquid Hydrogen currently requires significant energy input for cooling and high capital costs for storage tank materials. Liam will work with Jacob Leachman in the HYPER Lab at Washington State University to study the behaviour of liquid Hydrogen to inform the optimisation of large scale liquid Hydrogen storage designs.

As a Fulbright Future Scholar, Liam will develop practical liquid Hydrogen experimental handling skills. Liam intends to share this knowledge with Australian industry and government to guide the development of liquid Hydrogen expertise and applications in Australia. Ultimately, Liam aims to help Australia realise its potential as a clean energy hub for the world, where Hydrogen, made from renewable energy can be distributed to growing world population centres.

Alumni Archives