Alumni Profiles

Burdett Loomis Distinguished Chair

Home InstitutionUniversity of Kansas
Host InstitutionFlinders University
Award NameFulbright-Flinders University Distinguished Chair in American Political Science (sponsored by Flinders University)
DisciplinePolitical Science
Award Year2012

“Whether in Washington, D.C., Brussels, or Canberra, lobbying has become a growth industry over the past 20-30 years. The lobbying communities of national capitals (and of many state/provincial ones, too) have grown larger and more varied, not only in the number of clients served but also in the variety of services offered.”

Professor Burdett Loomis, Professor with the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas, has been awarded one of two Fulbright Flinders University Distinguished Chairs in American Political Science. Burdett will come to Flinders University in Adelaide for five months to work on a project researching lobbying and its impact in Australia, which will provide a basis for comparative work.

“My research project for the Fulbright Chair tenure will first seek to understand the overall scope and nature of the Australian lobbying industry; this will include how the national government and the individual states/territories seek to regulate lobbying. The second, related research strand will address how lobbying affects agendas and policy outcomes,” Burdett said.

“President Obama has attacked the Washington lobbyists, seeking to place limitations on their interactions with government and their recruitment to it. Still, even in the United States, where this growth first emerged and has developed in the most sophisticated ways, we do not completely understand the scope of lobbying, to say nothing of its manifestations and impacts.”

“I will use a multi-dimensional approach (available data, interviews, surveys) to construct a detailed picture of the Australian sector of organized interests and their attendant lobbying. The differences between the American separation-of-powers government and the Australian parliamentary system will likely yield notable differences in how groups and lobbyists are arrayed to affect public policies.”

Burdett has an MA and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been a Hall Center for the Humanities Fellow; a Fulbright Senior Specialist; and has won a Kemper Foundation Teaching Award and been an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. He has held many high-level administrative roles including being Director of Administrative Communication, Office of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius; and he has also taught politics and published extensively, with more than 30 books in various editions. He is a founding co-editor of the new journal, Interest Groups & Advocacy. His interests include research on legislatures and interest group, and he teaches a cours on politics and literature. In addition, Burdett has lectured widely for the U.S. State Deparment in Asia and South America, most recently in Indonesia in 2012.

Professor Margaret S. Barrett Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionSchool of Music, The University of Queensland
Host InstitutionThe School of Music, The University of Washington
Award NameFulbright Senior Scholarship
Award Year2017

Margaret is Head of the School of Music at the University of Queensland. She has held senior roles in music education leadership including President of the International Society for Music Education. Her Fulbright Senior Fellowship, The rhythms and modes of musical childhoods: an international investigation of young children’s creative music practices, builds on her longitudinal studies of Australian children’s singing and song-making and the role these play in young children’s learning and development.

Margaret will work with colleague Professor Patricia Campbell from the University of Washington to access the archives of the Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and analyse their collections of children’s song and song-making. The project will contribute to understandings of the nature of children’s song-making across diverse cultures and epochs, the social and cultural settings that support this work, and the meaning and value for children of singing and song-making.

Ted Lefroy Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Tasmania
Host InstitutionUniversity of Washington
Award NameTasmania State Senior Scholarship
DisciplineEnvironmental Sciences (Natural Resource Management)
Award Year2015

Ted graduated from the University of Western Australia with a degree in agricultural science in 1973. He spent the next 12 years working in agricultural extension and rural development in Queensland and Papua New Guinea. In Papua New Guinea he worked for the North Solomon’s Provincial Government through the Australian Volunteers Abroad program on a project to improve food self-sufficiency on four remote coral atolls. In 1987 he returned to Western Australia to work with watershed groups in a United Nations Man and the Biosphere project to improve environmental management on farmlands surrounding the World Heritage listed Fitzgerald River National Park. He has since held positions in agricultural and environmental research with the Western Australia Department of Agriculture, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Universities of Western Australia and Tasmania. For the last 15 years he has led interdisciplinary research teams working with land managers to solve problems in agriculture, natural resource management and nature conservation.  In 2003 he was awarded a Eureka Prize for research into the potential of the Australian native plant Weeping Rice Grass (Microlaena stipoides) as a perennial grain crop. In 2005 he was appointed Professor of Environment and Director of the Centre for Environment at the University of Tasmania. Since 2006 has led two national research projects Landscape Logic and the Landscapes and Policy Research Hub that brought together ecologists, geographers, economists and social scientists to work with land managers, planners and policy makers on environmental problems in agricultural landscapes and protected areas. This has included management of soil salinity, conservation of threatened species, control of invasive plants and animals, adaptation to climate change, development of alternative crops and adoption of conservation farming methods.

At the University of Washington Ted will conduct research for an illustrated book ‘The Myths of Nature and the Rise of Ecology”. The book will explore the gap between perceptions of nature in popular culture and concepts accepted within the scientific disciplines of ecology and conservation biology. Ted’s contention is that this gap is currently limiting our ability to develop and implement effective environmental policy. He plans to critically test the ideas behind the book with scholars from a wide range of fields including history, sociology, philosophy, ecology and conservation biology. Ted is also keen to learn about research methods used in environmental history and the history and philosophy of science.

Robert Fowler Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of South Australia
Host InstitutionGeorge Washington University
Award NameProfessional Scholarship in Climate Change and Clean Energy (Sponsored by the Australian and U.S. Governments
DisciplineLaw (Environmental Law)
Award Year2015

Rob is an Adjunct Law Professor at the University of South Australia, where he continues to teach and research in the field of environmental law after a career spanning almost forty years. In the course of his career, he has served in a number of leadership roles, including as co-founder and co-director of the Australian Centre for Environmental Law; Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Adelaide; Project Leader for an AUSAID judicial training programme on Indonesian environmental law and enforcement; and as a Program Leader for a Cooperative Research Centre on site contamination (CRC CARE) at the University of South Australia.

Rob held a Chair in International Environmental Law at the University of South Australia until 2008, when he decided to pursue other activities. In particular, he served for five years until 2013 as Chair of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, a global network of over 170 law schools involved in the field of environmental law. For the past three years, he has also been a member of the Board of the South Australian Environment Protection Authority. Alongside these professional activities, Rob has given voluntary service over many years to a number of non-government organisations, including the Australian Conservation Council, the Environmental Defenders Office (SA), the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Places You Love Alliance and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Rob’s research and writing has focused on various aspects of environmental law, including environmental impact assessment, soils and land degradation, biodiversity conservation and climate change. Alongside these specific areas, he has had a long-standing interest in the nature of environmental federalism, in particular the question of what is the appropriate role of the Federal government in environmental matters and how this role can be pursued to the greatest effect. He has just commenced writing a book on federal environmental law and policy that will explore this issue in greater detail. His proposed research in the United States will focus on environmental federalism generally and its application to climate change and clean energy specifically. Given current efforts by the US Environment Protection Agency to develop a Clean Power Plan that will rely considerably on state agencies for its implementation, this research could provide useful insights for Australia as it seeks to develop new approaches to climate mitigation and also engages in a wider reflection upon the appropriate role of the Federal government in relation to the environment.

Rob’s personal interests include sport, music, bush-walking, reading, wine collection and gardening. For many years, he was a passionate tennis player but has converted more recently to golf – applying himself with an equal dedication but considerably more frustration. He loves to attend live music performances of all kinds and is especially proud that his two youngest daughters have formed a band that performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2014. Rob also loves to travel and enjoys reading travel writers with a cultural perspective (such as Newby, Chatwin, Thesiger and Theroux) for relaxation.

Rob will investigate from a US perspective how the federal government collaborates with other levels of government (state, regional, local) to manage environmental challenges, with a particular focus on climate change and clean energy. His research will involve collaboration with some of the leading environmental law scholars in the USA who are based in or near Washington DC, and also consultations with senior administrators within the various levels of government for their perspectives on this subject. He looks forward to building a network of scholars interested in future collaboration from a comparative perspective on Australian and US approaches to environmental federalism.

Dr Stephan Frühling Professional Scholars

Dr Stephan Fruehling
Home InstitutionAustralian National University
Host InstitutionGeorgetown University
Award NameFulbright Professional Scholarship in Australia-U.S. Alliance Studies, Sponsored by the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
DisciplineInternational Relations
Award Year2017

Stephan is an Associate Professor in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

As the Fulbright Professional Scholar in Australia-U.S. Alliance Studies, based at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Stephan will examine why both countries have created fewer permanent arrangements to implement their treaty commitments than is the case in other U.S. alliances.  He will examine, through interviews in Canberra and Washington, whether this will remain sustainable as strategic pressures in the Asia-Pacific increase, and make recommendations on how Australia and the United States could improve the political-military management of closer alliance cooperation through an alliance strategic concept, integrated staff or new command arrangements.

Fergus Hanson Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Sydney
Host InstitutionGeorgetown University, Washington
Award Name2011 Fulbright Anniversary Alliance Scholarship sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Award Year2011

“While Australia and the United States have very close diplomatic ties, when it comes to recent innovations in diplomacy there is great untapped potential for exchange and opportunity to further broaden the alliance relationship.”

Fergus Hanson, Director of Polling and Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney will have the opportunity to spend three months at Georgetown University in Washington through the Anniversary Alliance Scholarship sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT sponsored a second scholarship for 2011 as part of the celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program.

His project aims to make a practical contribution to alliance cooperation by examining the broad range of innovations the State Department has been adopting in the area of 21st century statecraft, including digital diplomacy, and assessing which of these could be applied in Australia. A second focus will be on the State Department’s use of opinion polling to inform foreign policy making – where it is also a world leader – and looking at how DFAT could learn from this experience. “These innovations greatly extend reach at limited additional cost and, in the case of polling, allow better targeting of scarce resources,” Fergus said.

“This project would provide DFAT with an in-depth analysis of this ‘creative diplomacy’ as practised by one of the world’s leading diplomatic services. It would broaden the depth of understanding of which factors are fostering this innovation, which programs have been most effective and in which areas, and will allow for a more informed decision about those that might work best in an Australian context. Most importantly it will encourage further deepening of diplomatic cooperation and strengthening of the ANZUS alliance.”

Fergus has a BA in Philosophy and a Masters in International Law from the University of Sydney. In addition to his qualifications he has represented Australia in the Netherlands as a diplomat, been awarded a Vasey Fellowship from CSIS Pacific Forum (November-February 2010-11), held a Visiting Fellowship at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge (May-July 2003), been awarded a full Swiss government scholarship to undertake postgraduate studies in Switzerland (2003-04) and has published extensively.

His non-academic interests include surfing (badly), snowboarding, carpentry, trekking and reading. 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. Fergus is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.

Renxun Chen Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionThe University of New South Wales
Host InstitutionRutgers University
Award NamePostdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineChemistry (Surface Chemistry)
Award Year2015

Renxun obtained his bachelor degree in Nanotechnology with honours from the University of New South Wales. He continued at UNSW where he completed his PhD under the supervision of Prof Naresh Kumar and Prof Mark Willcox with the support of the National Health and Medical Research Council Dora Lush Postgraduate Scholarship.  In his current role as a postdoctoral fellow as well as in his PhD, Renxun has been working in a cross-disciplinary field encompassing chemistry, material science and microbiology, to develop new antimicrobial coatings to prevent infections on medical devices and implants using novel antimicrobials. His research specifically focuses on the development of antimicrobial chemical coatings on biomaterial surfaces for biomedical devices and implants. The use of biomedical devices and implants such as catheters, stents and contact lenses has resulted in enormous improvements in the quality of life and patient survival rates. However, the development of infection on these devices and implants results in high patient morbidity and mortality, as well as enormous associated medical costs to the community. It was estimated that more than 50% of hospital-acquired infections are biomaterial related. By grafting antimicrobial agents such as novel antimicrobial peptides (synthetic peptide “melimine” and its analogues) and quorum sensing inhibitors such as dihydropyrrolones (DHPs), Renxun has shown that biomaterial infections can be prevented and/or treated. Melimine and DHPs are both Australian inventions and are being developed by Prof Kumar and Prof Willcox in UNSW. These new antimicrobials have unique proposed mechanisms of action which does not readily induce resistance in microbes. This is a significant advantage in their future development.

The results from these projects have been published in high impact journals in the field such as Biomaterials, Biofouling and Acta Biomaterialia. The potent ability of tethered melimine to prevent microbial adhesion and colonisation on biomaterial surfaces were demonstrated. Furthermore, the structure-activity relationship for effective tethering of antimicrobial peptides was found, whereby the cationic portion of antimicrobial peptides has to be exposed to the bacteria for optimal activity. Renxun also demonstrated the link between attachment chemistry, and final activity for peptide-coated surfaces. The significance of these papers is demonstrated by the 28 citations so far. Furthermore, Renxun also demonstrated the use of “click” chemistry to covalently attach DHPs, quorums sensing inhibitors, which acts as an antimicrobial without killing bacteria, onto surfaces. He demonstrated this unique mechanism of action through the use of fluorescence staining and GFP-mutants strains of bacteria.

Building on the work of Prof Kathryn Uhrich’s group at Rutgers University, Renxun’s Fulbright project aims to develop a new dual action drug-releasing polymer that not only prevents the increasingly hard-to-treat microbial infections, but also promotes wound healing and reduces inflammatory response. It is envisaged that this new therapy will become the gold-standard for infection prevention and wound management and revolutionise the biomedical devices industry. The potential outcome of this project is significant for the community as bacterial infection is a growing problem that is worsening due to lack of new treatments and emerging antibiotic resistance.

Jean-Paul Hobbs Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Western Australia
Host InstitutionHawai’i Institute of Marine Biology
Award NameWestern Australia State Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineBiological Sciences (Marine Biology)
Award Year2014

“America and Australia contain global hotspots for endemic marine species.”

Jean-Paul Hobbs is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Western Australia Oceans Institute, where he is focused on the conservation of marine biodiversity, after completing his PhD at James Cook University. Jean-Paul will study at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii from August 2014 to May 2015 with a focus on determining and mitigating the risk of extinction for marine endemic species.

The research, with a Mentorship by Professor Brian Bowen, a world expert in marine conservation research, will be used to develop management strategies to reduce the risk of extinction for marine endemics.

“America and Australia contain, and are therefore custodians of, global hotspots for endemic marine species; my project will provide real-world solutions for conserving marine biodiversity in Australia, the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.”

Tiago Tomaz Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Western Australia
Host InstitutionUniversity of Illinois
Award NameWestern Australia State Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineBiological Sciences – Plant Biology
Award Year2013

“The development of crops that are able to grow under changing climactic conditions is essential to guarantee a food supply for humans in the future.”

Dr Tiago Tomaz, a recent graduate from the University of Western Australia (UWA) has won one of two Fulbright Western Australia Scholarships, sponsored by the WA Government and WA universities. Through his Fulbright, Tiago will go to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for a year to further his research in crop improvement through the application of genomic and post-genomic techniques, which involve analyses of plants at both the molecular (gene) and physiological (whole plant) level.

“Genomic and post genomic tools are major drivers for development of agriculturally beneficial traits in crop plants” Tiago said. “A priority area for further development is to look for ways to enhance plant tolerance to increased concentrations of ground level (tropospheric) ozone. Currently, few efforts have used these tools to uncover mechanisms for enhancing ozone tolerance in one of the worlds’ most valuable crop plants, maize”.

“This research is important due to elevated concentrations of air pollutants posing a significant threat to the productivity of global maize (and other major cereal) crops. The most damaging of these pollutants is tropospheric ozone”.

Tiago’s project will involve the transfer of valuable tools developed at both UWA and UIUC. UIUC is a pioneer in analysing the impact of global change factors on crop plants, and Tiago will assist in efforts to screen over 200 candidate maize lines for ozone tolerance using innovative free air concentration enrichment (FACE) experimental field plots.This research will provide target maize lines from which to selectively breed ozone tolerant hybrids.

Tiago has a BSc and a PhD in biological sciences from the University of Western Australia. He currently works as part of a Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) funded team at the Department of Agriculture of and Food Western Australia (DAFWA), who are looking to improve drought and cold tolerance of Australian wheat varieties in pre-breeding field trials. In his free time, Tiago enjoys participating in a variety of ocean sports, improving his Portuguese and travelling.

Rachelle Peta Cole Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionGlenroy College, Victoria
Host InstitutionStanford (TBC)
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2016

Rachelle is a language teacher, community leader and commentator who works on educational disadvantage, second language learning and Australia’s relationship with Asia. She is currently the Head of Languages at Glenroy College in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, having recently completed Teach for Australia, a program that attracts high achieving graduates into the teaching profession to teach at disadvantaged schools. In addition to teaching, Rachelle has taken on leadership positions in a number of community organizations. She is an Advisor to the Language Barrier, a not-for-profit organisation promoting second language learning through web stories, and the co-founder of the Australia Indonesia Youth Association, an organization to help build links between young people from Australia and Indonesia (AIYA). Under her stewardship AIYA grew to become the leading organization for youth links between both countries, with representation in eleven cities across Australia and Indonesia. In addition to teaching and her community activities, Rachelle also regularly writes about education policy and Australian youth engagement with Indonesia, a country in which she has lived for several years. She has degrees in International Relations and Asian Studies with first class honors from the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, as well as a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) from the University of Melbourne.

During the term of her Fulbright Scholarship, Rachelle is planning on studying a Masters of Arts (Education) at a leading education school in the US. She plans on studying with scholars who work on language teaching, both English as an additional language and second languages. During the term of her Fulbright, Rachelle plans to focus on the role that technology and innovative teaching methods can play in improving engagement and proficiency in second language learning, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. She will return to Australia following her scholarship year and utilize her skills in a leading teaching position with the long-term objective of advising government on language and education policy.

Gideon Singer Postgraduate Students

Gideon Singer
Home InstitutionPurdue University
Host InstitutionCQ University Appleton Institute
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineHuman, Health and Social Sciences
Award Year2016

As an anthropological archaeologist, Gideon Singer investigates the dynamic relations between society and the artifacts which have been designed, manufactured, used, and discarded by us. Gideon’s goal is to become a global advocate for societal, economic, and ecological sustainability. His focus? E-waste, or electronic waste, which is generated by growing demands for technology and the societal benefits they may provide. In May 2016, Gideon completed his Master of Science in Anthropology and NSF IGERT Fellowship in Sustainable Electronics at Purdue University. Gideon is currently a PhD student at Purdue and active member of the Mellon Foundation funded Purdue Electronic Life Histories Project. At Purdue, Gideon has worked with many interdisciplinary teams consisting of scholars from engineering, the humanities, the social sciences, and design. Dr. Riall Nolan, Professor of Anthropology at Purdue, describes Gideon as “a remarkably poised, self-directed individual” and “one of the newer generation of anthropology students whose desire to come to grips with global problems represents a major departure from business as usual in our discipline.”

Prior to graduate school Gideon earned his Bachelor of Arts with honors at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he conducted his senior thesis research on zooarchaeological artifacts recovered from Atlantic Trade era sites in the Gambia and participated in community-based archaeology in Dominica. In 2011, he was a member of the Tropical Archeology Research Lab at James Cook University in Australia, where he conducted laboratory research on Indigenous diet and helped teach archaeology to primary school children. While serving on archaeological digs around the U.S., Gideon became increasingly concerned with the ubiquitous presence of garbage littering roadsides and ditches across the Mid-Atlantic and the challenges of involving community members in waste management and resource recovery. These concerns continue to shape his research on electronic waste in the United States and Australia.

As a Fulbright postgraduate scholar, Gideon will conduct research on electronic waste in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Partnering with the Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University, he will integrate ethnography and geographic information systems (GIS) to investigate local responses to the rapid increase of e-waste and design community-based resources to unmake that waste. He also plans to create educational resources and teach students there how to use an online Story Mapping Template to visualize their own consumption and discard practices. Gideon is looking forward to residing in Alice Springs, collaborating with local government, and exploring the red centre of Australia.

Rebecca Erin Smith Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionWestern Australia Academy of the Performing Arts
Host InstitutionManhattan School of Music
Award NamePostgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2013

“I create music partly because I have this innate ability to see the potential of it in its most elemental state and to direct its progress into a fully-fledged work of art, and partly because of necessity.”

Ms Rebecca Erin Smith, a musician from Western Australia has won a Fulbright Scholarship to go to the Manhattan School of Music to undertake a two year Master of Music degree.

“The masters course which I plan to undertake is designed to target specific areas of my skill set that, as they stand, are impeding full realisation of my compositional potential. The specialised courses I intend to partake in are instrumentation and orchestration, form and analysis, and operatic and collaborative composition.”

“My specialised interests lie in the realm of collaborative mediums; specifically opera, theatre, installation, dance, and film composition. It is my greatest aspiration to establish a career in this area of music composition,” Rebecca said.

“The masters degree I have chosen to undertake offers unparalleled educational and practical experience opportunities in these specific areas. This course is designed to encourage and assist the development of individual’s creative output, whilst equipping students with the knowledge and skills essential for the fullest development of their creative gifts.”

Rebecca has a BA with first class Honours in music from the W.A Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). She has won awards and prizes including the Western Australian Barbara MacLeod Scholarship and Dr Harold Schenberg Music Prize, Marvin Hamlisch Scholarship in Composition from the Juilliard School and a Manhattan School of Music Scholarship. She is a member of the Golden Key Honour Society. Her interests include dressmaking and musical improvisation and she is an active member of the Perth indie-pop contemporary music scene.

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