Alumni Profiles

Dr Allison M. Macfarlane Distinguished Chair

Allison MacFarlane
Home InstitutionGeorge Washington University
Host InstitutionFlinders University and Carnegie Mellon University Australia
Award NameFulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy
DisciplinePublic Policy
Award Year2017

Allison is currently Professor of Science Policy and International Affairs at the George Washington University and Director of the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy.  She served as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from July 2012 through December 2014.  She holds a PhD in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSc degree in geology from the University of Rochester.  Her research has focused on the siting of nuclear waste facilities, nuclear safety and security, and nuclear nonproliferation.  She served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, created by the Obama Administration to recommend a new national policy on high-level nuclear waste. She is editor of Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation’s High-Level Nuclear Waste (2006).

During her Fulbright Scholarship, Allison will be researching South Australia’s foray into international nuclear waste disposal while at Flinders University and Carnegie Mellon University Australia.

Lane Burt Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionEmber Strategies
Host InstitutionMonash University
Award NameProfessional Scholarship in Climate Change and Clean Energy
DisciplineEnergy – Energy Conservation
Award Year2014

Lane is the Founder and Managing Principal of Ember Strategies, an energy efficiency and green building consulting firm located in San Francisco, California. Lane is a licensed professional engineer and after leaving engineering practice, he served as the Policy Director of the U.S. Green Building Council and as the federal energy efficiency lead for the Natural Resources Defence Council in Washington, D.C. Lane has Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida and North Carolina State University respectively. He enjoys cycling, backpacking, fly fishing and outdoor activities that provide temporary disconnection and recalibration.

Since founding Ember Strategies, Lane has worked with numerous U.S. cities and NGOs developing and implementing policies and programs designed to eliminate energy waste in big buildings. The U.S. “efficiency brain trust” is very interested in better understanding the impact of Australia’s trend-setting efficiency policies, especially the Commercial Building Disclosure program. Through his research and time in Australia, Lane hopes to facilitate that understanding while directly experiencing Australia and Melbourne day to day. He spent some time in Australia in 2007 and looks forward to returning with some context to find what has changed and what remains the same. Lane would like to return home with a broader outlook and greater understanding of the efforts both countries are making to confront big challenges.

David Crook Professional Scholars

David Crook
Home InstitutionResearch Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University
Host InstitutionWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Award NameFulbright Professional Scholarship
DisciplineFisheries Research
Award Year2018

David is a Principal Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. He has more than 20 years of experience in fish ecology research, primarily focussing on the significance of fish migration for ecosystem connectivity, aquatic food web structure and function, threatened species conservation and sustainable fishery management.

David will use his Fulbright scholarship to undertake collaborative research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service in Corvallis, Oregon. Analyses of fish otoliths (earstones) will be used to quantify the transport of assimilated energy and nutrients across ecosystem boundaries by migratory fish, using barramundi from tropical Australia and Pacific salmon from temperate USA as case studies. The project will help support sustainable fishery management and provides an opportunity for ongoing collaboration among fisheries scientists in Australia and the U.S.

Dr Chris Dixon Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionThe University of Queensland
Host InstitutionEdward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies,The University of Texas at Austin
Award NameFulbright Professional Scholarship in Australia-United States Alliance Studies, Sponsored by the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Award Year2016

Chris is a Reader in History at the University of Queensland’s School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts (Honors) and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Western Australia he completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales. Prior to his appointment at the University of Queensland, he held academic positions at the University of Sydney, Massey University, and the University of Newcastle. He has served two terms as President of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association.

Believing passionately that history provides a window to the world, present as well as past, Chris has sought, through both his teaching and his research, to help others gaze through and open that window. As well as teaching undergraduate courses on US history, he has supervised 15 PhD and Masters students, and over 60 Honors students, to successful completion. He has also served as his Faculty’s Associate Dean, with particular responsibility for Research Higher Degree matters.

Chris’s own research focuses on two themes: the history of race relations, especially African American history; and the Pacific War. Having completed Hollywood’s South Seas and the Pacific War: Searching for Dorothy Lamour (co-authored with Professor Sean Brawley) he is currently writing African Americans and the Pacific War for Cambridge University Press.

When he’s not pursuing his interests in American history and politics, Chris enjoys supporting the mighty Hawthorn Football Club. A keen runner, he has completed 50 marathons, including the Boston Marathon and the 90 kilometer Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa. Chris has traveled widely and in 2009 trekked the Kokoda Trail with his twelve year-old son, Sam.

The Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Australia-U.S. Alliance Studies will enable Chris to explore the experiences of the 100,000 African-Americans who spent time in Australia during World War Two. This project will shed light on the social and cultural bases of the wartime relationship between the US and Australia – which was the platform upon which the postwar ANZUS alliance was forged. The University of Texas at Austin’s Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies provides an ideal base for conducting this research, and will also enable Chris to work with the University’s internationally-renowned scholars in History and African American Studies. In deepening our understanding of the alliance between Australia and the US, Chris’s project will also foster closer scholarly relations between the two nations.

Dr Harley Scammell Postdoctoral Scholars

Harley Scammell
Home InstitutionUniversity of New South Wales
Host InstitutionHarvard University
Award NameFulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship, Sponsored by Monash University
DisciplineTheoretical Physics
Award Year2018

Harley is a postdoctoral researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET) at the University of New South Wales.

For his Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship, Harley will work with world-renowned theoretical physicist Professor Subir Sachdev at Harvard University to further the under-standing of the mechanisms behind superconductivity – an exotic quantum phase of matter. Superconductors, along with quantum computers and modern transistor devices, are quantum systems positioned at the forefront of modern technology. The principle behind all such technologies is the manipulation of quantum states of matter in order to send and receive information and energy at the lowest possible energy cost. Energy costs lie at the heart of our current technological limitations as well as our global environmental issues. By the completion of the Fulbright program, researchers around the world will be able to benefit from the results of Harley’s research into superconducting systems.

Stephane Shepherd Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionSwinburne University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of California Los Angeles
Award NamePostdoctoral Scholarship in Cultural Competence (Sponsored by the National Centre for Cultural Competence at the University of Sydney)
DisciplinePsychology (Criminology)
Award Year2015

Stephane developed an acute interest in the theoretical underpinnings of criminal behavior in his youth. Naturally this curiosity steered Stephane to scholarly pursuits in order to nurture his burgeoning interest in the processes of the criminal justice system. He completed his BA in Criminology from Monash University in 2005. Unperturbed (at the time) by his ever expanding higher education student loan, Stephane continued with his studies and obtained a Master of Communications in 2007, also from Monash University. In keeping with his interest in Criminology, Stephane’s Masters dissertation canvassed the literature on media representations and public perceptions of extreme youth violence. In 2010 Stephane received a PhD scholarship from Monash University in Forensic Psychology. His thesis investigated the cross-cultural validity of adolescent violence risk assessment instruments for Australian young offenders in custody. Stephane received his doctorate from Monash University in 2013 and has since worked as a postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Swinburne University. In the short period of time that Stephane has been involved in academia, he has established himself as an emerging expert in multicultural violence risk assessment, Aboriginal/policing relations and risk factors for violence across ethnicity. He teaches at the Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral levels and frequently gives guest lectures and instructional presentations on multicultural issues in forensic psychology and criminology. Stephane has written a variety of scientific peer reviewed publications on cross-cultural risk assessment, risk factors for violence across ethnicity and gender, policing and mental health. He conducted the first published review on violence risk assessment in Australian Aboriginal populations. He is currently a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, Freemasons Scientific Advisory Committee and Mensa.

Stephane has a strong interest in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in contact with the justice system. He stresses the urgency of expanding cultural competency research to the forensic field which will inform the development of culturally informed therapeutic initiatives for Aboriginal offenders. Promoting culturally competent service delivery is particularly important in the justice context given the higher socio-economic and psychosocial needs of the clients. This is of particular significance for Aboriginal people who are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Stephane has expressed caution over generalizing initiatives based on general risk factors for offending to Aboriginal people, who may have unique cultural determinants that increase or decrease the risk of engaging in criminal behaviour. Specifically, scant attention has been paid to Aboriginal notions of mental health, conceptualized as Social and Emotional Wellbeing, and how this may affect the mitigation of offending. To address these concerns, Stephane will collaborate with Psychology and Tribal Law and Native Policy scholars from UCLA, the University of Arizona and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to ascertain the effects of cultural engagement on criminal desistance. The work will help identify the level of the unmet mental health needs of Aboriginal prisoners and existing gaps in culturally oriented service delivery.

This scholarship presents a unique trans-national opportunity to explore the relationship between cultural engagement and desistance from crime for Aboriginal people in custody. The project is in a strong position to address national and local initiatives to improve Aboriginal health outcomes and specifically the health outcomes of Aboriginal offenders through its commitment to improving cultural competency in the forensic mental health field and finally building international collaborative partnerships with research organizations committed to practical cross-cultural outcomes. Furthermore, this research has the potential to develop industry and government partnerships with Aboriginal communities, to inform policy and tertiary education programs. There will also be a stronger focus on working as a culturally informed practitioner within the forensic mental health disciplines.

Stephen Aro Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionCarnegie Mellon University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Western Australia
Award Name2011 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar
Award Year2011

“At the University of Western Australia, I will be able to expand my horizons and improve as a scientist to complete a project which has the potential to enhance the usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a diagnostic tool.”

Mr Stephen Aro, a recent science graduate from Carnegie Mellon University, has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to spend a year at the University of Western Australia.

Through his Fulbright, Stephen will work with world-leading biomagnetism expert, UWA’s Professor Tim St. Pierre to expand his research in the U.S., with Prof. Sara Majetich at Carnegie Mellon.

In the U.S. Stephen has been working with Professor Majetich on developing magentised nano-particles to be used with optical microscopes as well as in magnetic data storage materials. In WA he aims to develop similar particles that can be used for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

“MRI machines work by detecting the molecular-scale magnetic fields of the hydrogen atoms in water molecules throughout our bodies. Larger particles are theoretically better MRI contrast agents because they are easier for the machines to pick up. However, the practical problem that arises in using larger particles is that they can be attracted to each other which could have serious consequences in the human body,” Stephen said.

The particles that Stephen will develop are iron oxide particles with a silica coating.

“The potential advantage of the covered particles I will test lies in the silica coating, which should prevent them from aggregating without weakening them, making them far more effective than current methods at improving MRI signal resolution,” Stephen said.

By creating larger magnetic particles, their uses in biomagnetic application will be drastically increased,” Stephen said.

Stephen has a BS in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon. He has received various awards and prizes including an interdisciplinary program in nanotechnology (IUPN) fellowship through Carnegie Mellon and the National Science Foundation; and has been on the Mellon College of Science Dean’s List High Honors. In his spare time he tutors elementary school children as a volunteer.

Lily van Eeden Postgraduate Students

Lily van Eeden
Home InstitutionFaculty of Science, The University of Sydney
Host InstitutionThe University of Washington
Award NameFulbright New South Wales Scholarship
DisciplineHuman-Wildlife Conflict
Award Year2018

Lily investigates the human dimensions of wildlife management. For her PhD research, she focuses on the conflict between livestock production and one of Australia’s largest predators, the dingo. The Australian agriculture industry invests millions of dollars annually in dingo control, despite little evidence that current management methods are effective at reducing livestock loss and limited understanding of the consequences of these practices for ecosystems. Lily seeks to discover what shapes our dingo management strategies and how they can be improved for the benefit of farmers and the environment.

For her Fulbright Scholarship, Lily will collaborate with researchers in the University of Washington’s Predator Ecology Lab. Her research there will compare the Australian and American contexts, providing an opportunity for Australia to learn from the experiences of ranchers who live alongside large predators including wolves, mountain lions, and bears.

Abby Kelly Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Washington
Host InstitutionCSIRO, Manufacturing Flagship
Award NameFulbright-CSIRO Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2015

Abby began her professional career as a residential interior designer after completing a Bachelor of Science in Design at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) in 2005. After working as a designer for three years in Lansing, Michigan, she decided to return to school to pursue a degree in engineering in order to make a more significant contribution to society. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering from UNL in 2012. At the end of her bachelors, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship due to her undergraduate research on the use of Raman spectroscopy to characterize and diagnose muscle degradation associated with Peripheral Arterial Disease and for her work in engineering education on the accreditation and assessment of undergraduate engineering curricula. Abby conducted her Masters research in the field of gene delivery, developing a method to improve the delivery of foreign DNA to human mesenchymal stem cells through nonviral means for improved genetic reprogramming. She was awarded a Master’s degree in Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering from UNL in 2014. Abby is currently pursuing a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Washington, where her research focuses on the development and evaluation of more effective drug delivery systems to combat pulmonary infections caused by tier 1 agents Burkholderia pseudomallei and Francisella tularensis. Abby has coauthored multiple publications on her undergraduate and graduate research as well as on her work in engineering education, and is a co-inventor on a patent for a device to more accurately quantify air-leaks from the pleural space following a traumatic lung injury.

Abby will conduct her Fulbright research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in the manufacturing flagship where she will characterize the effects of polymer architecture on the efficacy and toxicity of peptide delivery. She is most excited to improve her polymer synthesis skills while working with the inventors of one of the most-used polymerization techniques in the world, reversible addition fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization. Abby will be joined in Australia by her husband, an aspiring filmmaker who is excited to document their once-in-a-lifetime Australian Fulbright adventure.

Steven Limpert Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionArizona State University
Host InstitutionThe University of New South Wales
Award NameFulbright Alumni and Climate Change Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineElectrical Engineering
Award Year2012

“Because the expense of power from renewable energy technologies is a primary inhibitor to their greater use, research into ways to reduce the cost of power through improved device performance is of the utmost importance.”

Mr Steven Limpert, a recent graduate in electrical engineering from Arizona State University, is the 2012 Fulbright Postgraduate Alumni Scholar, and also is the inaugural winner of the 2012 Fulbright U.S. Climate Change Scholarship.

Through his Fulbright, Steven will spend a year at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), undertaking work towards a PhD at the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering where he will conduct research in the area of high efficiency, hot carrier, and nanostructured solar cells.

“At UNSW, I will work experimentally to verify data I obtained from novel simulations of solar cells at the Arizona State University Solar Power Laboratory,” Steven said.

In the simulations he conducted at the ASU Solar Power Laboratory, Steven studied a variety of energy loss mechanisms in solar cells such as surface recombination and carrier thermalisation. Surface recombination occurs in a solar cell when an electron and a hole recombine at the perimeter of the crystal lattice and become no longer capable of providing their energy to a load. Carrier thermalisation is a process in which electrons and holes lose energy to heat, decreasing the energy which they are able to provide to a load.

“A large body of work exists describing the effects of recombination at the front, back and in the interior of solar cells, but the literature largely neglects the effect of recombination at the edges of solar cells. Previously, edge recombination may have been considered a negligible loss mechanism, but the results of my simulations showed that high edge recombination rates can have a large detrimental effect on the performance of certain types of solar cells,” Steven said.

A conclusion of the study was that if losses due to edge recombination are controlled, higher energy conversion efficiencies can be achieved.

“If higher energy conversion efficiencies are achieved, the same materials can provide greater power output, thus effectively reducing the price of the power obtained from the device.”

In addition to his BS in electrical engineering from Arizona State University, Steven has been the recipient of several scholarships and awards including a Travel Study Grant from the Circumnavigators Club Foundation and a Dean’s Fellowship from Arizona State University. He is also a part-time professional musician, and plays the trumpet. 

Matthew Norris Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionFlinders University
Host InstitutionPrinceton University
Award NamePostgraduate Scholarship (WG Walker)
Award Year2013

“There is an ongoing need to discover new pharmaceutical agents, medicines and vaccines to combat the ever increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and cancerous cell lines that threaten human health on a global scale.”

Mr Matthew D. Norris, a PhD candidate at Flinders University in Adelaide, is the 2013 winner of the Fulbright Australian Alumni (WG Walker) Scholarship which is funded through donations by Fulbright Alumni and is awarded to the highest ranked Postgraduate Scholar each year. Through his Scholarship, Matthew will go to Princeton University for 12 months to further his research into the synthetic preparation of rare and highly complex natural medicines.

“The need for new pharmaceutical agents has driven the chemical search to remote biological ecosystems with a rich diversity of organisms that have been found to produce a plethora of highly complex and unique organic (carbon-based) molecules,” Matthew said.

“Interestingly, many of these naturally occurring compounds, often with bizarre and somewhat mysterious structures, show promising attributes as potent antibacterial and anticancer medicines.”

These natural products are only produced in trace quantities and hence, their preparation by synthetic means is required to enable further research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, Matthew says.

“Owing to the unusual architecture of many natural drug candidates, their construction is typically too difficult, ineffective or costly using methods currently established in modern synthetic chemistry. The primary motivation of my research is to develop new methods of synthesis in which chemists can rapidly access highly complex structures in a cost-effective manner from simple, cheap starting materials.”

Matthew has a BSc (Hons) Chemistry from Flinders University. Matthew was the recipient of the MF & MH Joyner Scholarship in Science, Flinders University Medal, The Malcolm Thompson Prize for Research in Organic Chemistry, Royal Australian Chemical Institute SA Branch Prize and The Max Clark Prize in Science and Engineering. Outside of his research he enjoys university teaching and playing the guitar.

Benjamin Tien Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionPrinceton University
Host InstitutionMonash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineBiochemical Engineering
Award Year2015

Benjamin graduated with a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University in June 2015. He is specifically interested in exploring how science and engineering can be used as vehicles for global development. He has traveled to Peru, where he spent five weeks with Engineers without Borders implementing a water system for a rural community. He served as the technical team leader for two years, successfully coordinating the team in planning the layout of the water system, which would bring clean water to nine families. He wrote multiple grant proposals receiving funding for the service trip to Peru and also wrote much of the documentation needed to obtain trip approval by the national Engineers without Borders organization. He has also taken a class titled “Design for the Developing World,” where he collaborated with an Israeli-Palestinian NGO to improve the performance of a magnetic water pump that would be distributed to rural villages. Co-leading the check valve team, he helped to optimize check valve performance, thereby improving the pump efficiency. Benjamin also won a scholarship from the Princeton Center for Health and Wellbeing to serve 11 weeks as a research intern for Diagnostics For All (DFA), a nonprofit that develops inexpensive paper technology to diagnose easily preventable diseases. He designed lab experiments to optimize paper-based assays that determine levels of glucose and iron in blood serum for diagnostic purposes. His work has contributed to two publications, one in Sensing and Bio-Sensing Research and another that has been presented at the 2015 IEEE International Conference. Finally, Benjamin was president of Manna Christian Fellowship at Princeton, leading weekly meetings to organize fellowship events.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Benjamin will work with Professor Michelle McIntosh and her team at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences to develop an oxytocin aerosol to prevent postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), or bleeding after childbirth. Over 100,000 women die each year from PPH, though it can be prevented with an injection of oxytocin; oxytocin stimulates uterine contractions, which prevents PPH. However, the injectable form of oxytocin requires refrigeration infrastructure that is not available in many low-resource settings. Our team seeks to develop an aerosol formulation with oxytocin that does not require refrigeration and can be inhaled by patients immediately after childbirth, a product that could save numerous lives of mothers in low-resource settings. Benjamin also plans to interact with the indigenous Australian population to assess its healthcare needs, especially as they pertain to maternal health.

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