Alumni Profiles

Dan Ventura Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionComputer Science Department, Brigham Young University
Host InstitutionSchool of Art and Design, University of New South Wales
Award NameFulbright Scholar Award
DisciplineComputer Science
Award Year2019

Dan Ventura is a Professor and Director of the Machine Intelligence and Discovery (MIND) Lab in the Computer Science Department at Brigham Young University.  He and his students aspire to build artificial intelligence (AI) systems that perform tasks or solve problems in ways that would be considered creative by an unbiased observer.  In visiting the School of Art and Design at UNSW, Dan hopes to explore how such systems can positively impact society.  In particular, he looks forward to exploring the possibility of building AI systems that, for example, produce new ideas; or act as a kind of “objective” lens through which culture can be understood; or help resolve ethical questions.  Dan also hopes to incorporate a significant level of social engagement, providing the opportunity for public education and facilitating the public’s understanding of AI and its beneficial potential.

Dr Andrew Carr Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionStrategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University
Host InstitutionCentre for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies, Georgetown University
Award NameFulbright Professional Scholarship in Australia-United States Alliance Studies Funded by DFAT
DisciplineStrategic Studies
Award Year2019

Andrew is a Senior Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. His research focuses on strategy, middle powers and Australian defence policy. His work has been published in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Asia Policy, and Australian Journal of International Affairs, along with books with Oxford University Press and Georgetown University Press. Dr Carr is the editor of the Centre of Gravity policy paper series.

For his Fulbright, Andrew will be based in Washington D.C, to visit archives and speak to policymakers. Andrew will explore how the United States thought about and contributed to Australia’s defence of its territory in the 1940s and 1980s. In today’s environment of increasing strategic tension, this project will assist the development of Australian defence policy and the management of expectations and responsibilities in the Australia-United States alliance.

Dr Anitza Ana Geneve Professional Scholars

Anitza Geneve
Home InstitutionTAFE Queensland
Host InstitutionOpen Learning Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Award NameFulbright Professional Scholar in Vocational Education & Training (VET)
DisciplineVocational Education
Award Year2018

Anitza has over twenty years’ experience in the Australian VET sector across various professional roles including teaching, research and project management. Her current role with TAFE Queensland focuses on implementing initiatives that improve the student experience.

Anitza’s Fulbright project will investigate, design, implement and evaluate the use of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to support the digital literacy skills and employability skills (Australian Core Skills for Work (CSfW)) of learners undertaking competency-based training in the Australian VET sector. Anitza will spend three months with her host organisation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to align the MOOC project to international best practice. Anitza looks forward to driving a conversation within the Australian VET sector focusing on how the digital literacy and employability needs of learners can be supported within an Australian and a global context through the use of emerging technology.

Dr Laura Eadie Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionSAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute)
Host InstitutionSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Department of Pathology
Award NameFulbright South Australia Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineMedical Science
Award Year2016

Laura is a postdoctoral researcher in the Cancer Theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide. Laura graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Science (Biomed) and first class Honours in 2006 and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Medicine in 2013. Laura’s thesis received a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence and her PhD studies made significant contributions to understanding the impact of cellular drug transporters on the efficacy of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (eg: imatinib) used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia. Most recently Laura’s research highlighted the clinical significance of overexpression of the efflux transporter ABCB1 in predicting response to imatinib therapy.

For her Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship, Laura will work in the laboratory of Professor Charles Mullighan at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital learning engineered and xenograft mouse models to facilitate translational studies of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). Relapsed ALL is the leading cause of childhood non traumatic death. Genomic analyses identified a new subtype of high-risk ALL (Ph-like) which can be treated with clinically available drugs with known safety profiles. Use of these drugs in other diseases results in improved outcome, but resistance still occurs and in high risk ALL patient outcomes are less robust. Laura’s project will assess drug efficacy and mechanisms of resistance to understand key drivers of response and resistance. Findings will inform clinical practice and therapeutic strategies will be optimised to ensure the best chance of cure for patients with the highest risk forms of childhood ALL.

When Laura is not in the laboratory she enjoys travelling, most recently to South America where she trekked the Inca Trail and explored Machu Picchu. When visiting new places Laura also likes to incorporate her love of eating, trying the local cuisines and partaking in cooking classes. On the weekends she typically spends her time riding her bike or hiking, reading and laughing with friends, usually about the latest unfortunate incident to befall her on the daily commute to work.

Hannah Barrett Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts
Host InstitutionThe Australian National University
Award NamePostgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2012

“As a low-incidence disability, deafness has drawn relatively little attention from the academic community, but this is likely to change. Thanks to the aging of the baby boomer generation, the ranks of the hard-of-hearing are about to skyrocket.”

Ms. Hannah Barrett, a recent graduate in psychology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to spend a year at the Australian National University in Canberra. Through her Fulbright, Hannah will undertake psychology research to assess how to overcome the stigmatizing effects of hearing loss.

“Hearing loss is often stigmatized, and this in turn affects the self-esteem and well-being of the hard-of-hearing,” Hannah said.

“It is more important than ever to analyze—and try to relieve—the social, psychological and health effects of hearing loss. It is important as well to increase the level of understanding between the hard-of-hearing and the larger population,” Hannah said.

Hannah says that her life’s goal is to understand how people negotiate deafness and situations in which they experience stigma and social and psychological isolation. As a person who has been deaf since birth, she knows firsthand what such experiences are like.

Hannah plans to work with two researchers at The Australian National University on a controlled study investigating the use of social support for reducing the incidence and effects of stigma and social isolation.

“Our hope is that members of the intervention group develop more accepting attitudes towards their hearing difficulties; adopt, with family and friends, more inclusive perceptions of social identity; share coping and resilience building ideas; and participate in group-wide and even community-wide efforts to put lasting social supports in place,” Hannah said.

She was drawn to Australia, where researchers first developed cochlear implant technology and continue to conduct much of the best psychological research on hearing loss.

While acquiring a BA in psychology, Hannah was Historian for the UMass Psi Chi Chapter and worked in a variety of psychology labs. She won an Honors Research Assistant Award, among other awards. She also reviewed arts and entertainments events for her university newspaper and volunteered as a teacher’s assistant in an advanced comedy course.


Timothy Blomfield Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Sydney
Host InstitutionHarvard University / Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Award NameFulbright Future Scholarship Funded by The Kinghorn Foundation
DisciplineBusiness / Public Policy 
Award Year2019

Studying economics at the University of Sydney, Tim became fascinated with the complexity of our global economic system and the two things that make it so exciting – humans and technology. Tim set out to understand our economy better as a macroeconomic forecaster at the Australian Treasury, before his curiosity for human psychology and neuroscience led him to a role with the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.

Tim published BETA’s work with energy consumers in the Behavioral Economics Guide 2018 and his research nudging consumers to make smarter energy decisions has sparked a passion for combining behavioural science and technology to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our global society. As a Fulbright Future Scholar, Tim will study a combined Masters of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Masters of Business Administration at MIT Sloan. Tim’s focus will be on how companies and governments can work together to leverage new tech and a solid understanding of human behaviour to deal with some of the biggest risks to Australia’s future, like how we adapt to climate change and future-proof our workforce in the age of artificial intelligence.

Pearse Buchanan Postgraduate Students

Pearse Buchanan
Home InstitutionUniversity of Tasmania
Host InstitutionThe Sigman Lab, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2017

Pearse is a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania. He is interested in defining how the ocean has responded to, and driven climate change in the past through exploring the complex interaction between ocean physics and biogeochemistry.

Pearse’s Fulbright project will focus on the oceanic nitrogen cycle, which forms an essential component of the ocean’s weighty role in the climate system. Past variations in nitrogen are tell-tale signs of changes in ocean productivity, and therefore whether the ocean acted as a net contributor, or consumer of greenhouse gases. Pearse will work with researchers at the Sigman Lab at Princeton University to explore how past changes in the oceanic nitrogen cycle affected the air-sea exchange of two major greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In this way, the ocean’s continued role in the changing climate system can be better defined and predicted.

Alice Gardoll Postgraduate Students

Alice Gardol
Home InstitutionUniversity of Sydney
Host InstitutionColumbia University
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineLaw and Human Rights
Award Year2019

Alice is a lawyer who is passionate about fighting for vulnerable individuals in Australia’s justice system. She has a particular focus on refugees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, two of the most marginalised groups in Australian society. Alice has volunteered as a refugee lawyer in Australia and abroad, working with the Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS) and in a refugee camp on the island of Samos, Greece. She currently works as a criminal defence lawyer for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), and has previously held roles as a commercial litigator at Herbert Smith Freehills and a Tipstaff to the Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley AO, President of the NSW Court of Appeal.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Alice hopes to study a Master of Laws specialising in international law, human rights and refugee law. Her goal is to continue her on the ground legal work and to be a leader in law and policy reform in Australia.

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.

Kaleigh Rusgrove Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Connecticut
Host InstitutionWestern Sydney University
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineVisual Arts/Photography
Award Year2019

Kaleigh earned her BFA from Endicott College in 2014 and her MFA from the University of Connecticut in 2018. As a photographer Kaleigh is interested in creating narrative images which exist between fact and fiction. She often combines the witnessed with the imagined, both moments of importance as well as artefacts of questionable authenticity. Kaleigh’s current work focuses on climate change, and her Fulbright project will further explore environmental issues as inspiration for storytelling. In addition to her time at Western Sydney University, Kaleigh will also be working within the Australian PlantBank of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, documenting the facilities’ seed bank and research. All of the images made throughout the duration of her Fulbright project will ultimately become one cohesive body, reflecting the importance of assessing current environmental practices and personal ethics for the future. You can follow her visual Fulbright journey at

Matthew Thompson Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionThe University of Queensland
Host InstitutionUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Award Name2011 Fulbright Queensland Scholarship
Award Year2011

“Maintaining the highest possible standards of fingerprint evidence is important for making sure that innocent people are not wrongly accused.”

Matthew Thompson, a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland, is the winner of the prestigious 2011 Fulbright Queensland Scholarship, sponsored by the Queensland Government and Universities. “Everyday, law enforcement agencies identify thousands of fingerprint matches that can be used as evidence in convicting criminals,” Matthew said. ”Contrary to popular belief and TV shows like CSI, computers are not relied upon to match crime-scene fingerprints. Instead, human fingerprint experts decide whether a print belongs to a suspect or not.”

“But, despite its 100 year history, there have been few peer-reviewed studies directly examining the extent to which experts can correctly match fingerprints to one another. And mistakes made to date have resulted in innocent people being wrongly accused.” Matthew’s Fulbright Scholarship will allow him to further his research on assessing inaccuracies in fingerprint identification, and collaborate with US fingerprint experts from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He will carry out his research at the University of California, Los Angeles to determine how accurate fingerprint experts are, explore the psychology that affects how well they match fingerprints, and maximise the reliability of fingerprint evidence in the criminal justice system. “I’ll work with fingerprint experts in the US to determine the factors—about the person and about the print—that will allow experts to make the most accurate matches,” Matthew said. “I believe the outcomes of my research will improve the welfare of Australians and Americans by upholding the process of law, and help to prevent wrongful convictions and promote rightful ones.”

Matthew has a BInfTech and a BSc (First Class Honours) in Psychology from The University of Queensland. He has won awards and prizes including the Queensland Government Smart Futures PhD Scholarship, the NICTA Research Project Award, and the ATSE Young Science Ambassador Award. Matthew is also a keen photographer, blogger and musician. 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. Matthew is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.


Daniel Wodak Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionThe University of Sydney
Host InstitutionPrinceton University
Award Name2011 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2011

“I am interested in how philosophy of language can be applied to meta-ethical debates, drawing from emerging methodologies like experimental philosophy, and the implications this has for morality and law.”

Daniel Wodak, who recently graduated in Arts and Law from The University of Sydney, has won a Fulbright Scholarship, which he will use to undertake a PhD in philosophy at in the United States, specialising in moral philosophy.

“My interests in moral philosophy are fairly broad, ranging from meta-ethical questions about how moral obligations provide reasons for action, to questions in normative ethics about what our moral obligations are, to debates in semantics (philosophy of language), jurisprudence (philosophy of law) and philosophy of happiness,” Daniel said.

“Moral philosophy is something people often engage in on a regular basis, because disagreement about important moral issues is everywhere. Philosophers just take these debates to greater and greater levels of abstraction. It’s important to keep in mind that however abstract you get – and many of the meta-ethical debates that I’m interested are pretty abstract – the arguments involved have serious real world implications. Daniel says that America has a strong tradition of making these implications apparent.

This is largely due to “a stronger culture of philosophers being engaged in political commentary and debate.” Also, “professors of philosophy are often involved in teaching and writing about law, and vice versa. This makes law students all the more likely to be critically engaged in philosophical debates about what law is, and what it ought to be.” Daniel’s interest in philosophy began when he enrolled in Mind and Morality, in his penultimate year of High School. He continued this study through his university years. Over the last two years he has lectured and tutored in philosophy at the University of Sydney while completing his Bachelor of Laws, with a particular focus on jurisprudence.

Daniel has a BA and LLB (First Class Honours) from The University of Sydney. He was awarded the University Medal and the John Anderson Prize for Best Thesis in Philosophy. In addition to Philosophy Daniel is interested in debating, swimming, cycling, reading, theatre, film and art. He has edited a range of student publications including Honi Soit, The Bull, The Sydney Globalist and Dissent, and interned at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service.

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.



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