Alumni Profiles

Angus Rupert MD, PhD Distinguished Chair

Home InstitutionU.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker Alabama
Host InstitutionDefence Science and Technology Group, Aerospace Division Melbourne.
Award NameFulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology (Sponsored by DST Group)
DisciplineTactile Cueing Technologies
Award Year2016

Angus gained his PhD. in Neurophysiology from the University of Illinois in 1979 and then pursued his MD degree at the University of Toronto in his native country Canada, finishing in 1982. Following an operational tour in the Azores as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon, he began his research career at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Florida where he specialized in vestibular psychophysics associated with the unusual acceleration environments encountered in flight and in space. As a result of the measures and countermeasures he developed for the Navy, CAPT Rupert was assigned to NASA Johnson Space Center for 12 years to continue development of solutions to aerospace mishaps.

Dr Rupert developed, based on psychophysics experiments, techniques to conduct perceptual analysis of aviation spatial disorientation mishaps for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and other nations, including Australia. To maintain pilot orientation continuously and prevent spatial disorientation mishaps, Dr Rupert developed the concept of tactile cueing as a tool for pilots and as a prosthesis device for patients with balance dysfunction. For the past 20 years, Dr Rupert has refined tactile cueing and integrated 3D auditory and traditional visual displays with tactile cues to create multisensory cueing for pilots. Due to his flight tests and tactile cueing demonstrations in the United States and Canada, the Australian MOD has recently selected Dr Rupert’s tactile cueing technology as one of five key technologies for the Capability and Technology Demonstrator program.

Angus matches his vocation of developing aerospace safety devices with his avocation of flying. While in graduate school, he obtained his commercial pilots license, aircraft mechanics license, and parachute riggers license to create a skydiving school, which in part supported his graduate education. As an avid aviator, he has flown his single engine Cessna across the north and south Atlantic to his duty stations and throughout Europe, Africa, and South America.

Angus will work with the Australian MOD and the Defence Science & Technology Group in Melbourne to introduce and integrate tactile cueing onto helicopter platforms and ground soldiers in order to demonstrate the additional capabilities provided to pilots and soldiers. He will also provide versions of tactile cueing to the civil aviation community as well as demonstrations of tactile cueing as a prosthesis device for balance impaired patients. Lastly Dr Rupert will provide lectures and examples of perceptual analysis of aviation mishap investigation to the ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau).

Dr. Rupert is looking forward to meeting and sharing new concepts and technologies with the Australian aviation community.

Linda Fetters Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
Host InstitutionCerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute
Award NameFulbright Senior Scholarship
DisciplineAllied Health
Award Year2015

Linda earned a BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a MS in Physical Therapy from Boston University and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Brandeis University. She is Professor and Sykes Family Chair in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Health and Development, Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy and Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. She directs the Development of Infant Motor Performance Laboratory where her research focuses on improving the quality of life for infants and children with movement difficulties due to neurological insults including the impact of cerebral palsy, in-utero drug exposure on sensori-motor development and most recently on the coordination of infants born prematurely. She developed very early physical therapy treatments using an innovative computerized mobile paradigm for those infants who are at risk for developing cerebral palsy. Linda teaches development, motor control, pediatric physical therapy and evidence-based physical therapy practice. She is Editor-in-Chief of Pediatric Physical Therapy, the journal of the Section on Pediatrics, American Physical Therapy Association and a member of the Editorial Board of Revista Brasileira De Fisioterapia (Physical Therapy Journal of Brazil). Professor Fetters is co-author of the textbook Evidence for Physical Therapy Practice, published by FA Davis, 2012.

She received the Research Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Pediatric Section Research Award of the APTA. She served on the Scientific Review Committee of the Foundation for Physical Therapy. Linda is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA, the highest honor the association bestows upon its members. She has taught and given scientific presentations throughout the United States and Sweden, the Netherlands, Tanzania, Taiwan, Japan and Brazil.

Linda will work with an international team, headed by Professor Iona Novak of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute to collaboratively develop an international clinical practice guideline for the identification, assessment and treatment of infants (birth to 2 years) who are at risk for or diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She plans to visit educational programs and clinical environments that serve infants and children who have developmental challenges. This is Linda’s first experience in Australia and she plans to explore the culture, communities and passions of Australia.

Peter Kell Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionCharles Darwin University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
Award NameNorthern Territory State Senior Scholarship
DisciplineEducation (Teacher Education)
Award Year2014

“Australia and the US are two of the most active participants in transnational and global education.”

Peter Kell is Professor and Head of the School of Education at Charles Darwin University. His work has a focus on global student mobility, the internationalisation of education and training in the Asia Pacific. He will study at the College of Education in the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) from January-June 2015.

His study is centred on internationalising the learning experience of postgraduate education in the Northern Territory through a collaborative Master of Education online program. The evaluation of the design, protocols and learning frameworks within this program will be used to initiate a global network in postgraduate learning in education involving the US and Australia.

“Australia and the US are two of the most active participants in transnational and global education. The next frontier is postgraduate education. This project will enable an active exploration that will assist students, academics and university administrators to understand how to use the new technologies of learning across the globe in new and innovative ways for mutual benefits.”

David Lee Senior Scholars

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

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

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

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

Dr. Paul R. Sanberg Senior Scholars

Paul Sanberg
Home InstitutionUniversity of South Florida and National Academy of Inventors
Host InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne: School of Chemistry, Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship, Ormond College, and Bio21 Institute
Award NameFulbright Specialist
DisciplineNeuroscience; Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Award Year2017

Dr. Sanberg is Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise; Distinguished University Professor; and Executive Director, Center of Excellence for Aging & Brain Repair, University of South Florida (USF). He is an international leader in advancing recognition of academic innovation as founder and President of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and on prominent national committees providing future direction for science and innovation in the United States. His leadership has propelled USF forward in national and international rankings. He led a national dialog to transform academic tenure and promotion to include innovation activities. His scientific work and industry experience were instrumental in translating novel therapeutics to clinical trials and commercialization for neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. He trained at York University, University of British Columbia, Australian National University, Curtin University, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, among others. He holds 158 worldwide patents; authored 650+ articles and 14 books with 30,000+ citations; Fellowship in the NAI, Royal Societies of Chemistry, Public Health and Medicine, AAAS, and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; received Sigma Xi’s McGovern Science & Society Award; Florida Inventors Hall of Fame inductee; and AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador. In Australia, he will share expertise in changing the culture to enhance industry engagement, entrepreneurship and impact of academic innovation on society.

Mark Boland Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionAustralian Synchrotron
Host InstitutionStanford University
Award NameProfessional Scholarship in Nuclear Science and Technology (Sponsored by the Australian Government, ANSTO)
DisciplinePhysics and Astronomy (Physics of Beams)
Award Year2014

“This new dimension of time-resolved experiments opens up a whole range of science that is currently not accessible in Australia.”

Mark Boland is the Principal Accelerator Physicist at the Australian Synchrotron, a particle accelerator laboratory that he helped to design, build, commission and operate. He is a Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne where he completed his PhD in fundamental nuclear physics with a thesis experiment conducted at Lund University in Sweden.

He will study at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University, which has gained notoriety for the three Nobel prizes in physics awarded to research conducted there. His studies focus on unlocking the picoseconds time scale capabilities of the Australian Synchrotron.

“This new dimension of time-resolved experiments opens up a whole range of science that is currently not accessible in Australia. I also hope to raise the profile of accelerator physics in Australia as a science in its own right, and one essential to enable scientific discoveries such as the Higgs Boson, flu vaccinations, the structure of proteins and DNA and much more.”

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
DisciplineHistory
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 Sean Martin Postdoctoral Scholars

Sean Martin
Home InstitutionFreemason Foundation Centre for Men’s Heath, University of Adelaide
Host InstitutionNew England Research Institutes
Award NameFulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineEpidemiology
Award Year2018

Sean is a National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Early Career Research Fellow, based in the Freemason Foundation Centre for Men’s Heath at the University of Adelaide. Sean’s current research interests centre on urological epidemiology, specifically how urological symptoms relate to other chronic diseases.

For his Fulbright Scholarship, Sean will be examining in detail the socio-cultural & demographic influences on the high level of urological dysfunction seen in disadvantaged urban communities, a noted public health concern in both the USA and Australia. This work will be based out of the New England Research Institutes (Boston), world-renowned for their work in health disparities, in association with local collaborators at Harvard and Massachusetts
General Hospital.

Jessica Walker Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionAustralian Maritime College at UTAS
Host InstitutionUnited States Naval Academy Annapolis
Award NameTasmania State Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineRenewable energy technology (tidal power)
Award Year2012

“The introduction of carbon policies worldwide has led to the need for further development of renewable energy. Research is required in tidal power for this emerging technology to become viable and competitive.”

Dr Jessica Walker, a Lecturer in Ocean Engineering with the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics at the Australian Maritime College at UTAS, is the 2012 winner of the Fulbright Tasmania Scholarship, sponsored by the Tasmanian Government through the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts, and the University of Tasmania. Through her Fulbright Jessica will go to the United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland for 12 months to undertake research into the renewable energy technology, tidal power.

“Unlike other renewable sources such as solar, wind and wave, tidal power is predictable as it relies on lunar gravitational forces rather than the weather. This makes it easier to integrate into the electricity grid,” Jessica said.

“However there are two potential performance issues in the operation of tidal turbines: the roughening of the turbine blades due to impact, cavitation or scour due to particulates, and the fouling of the turbine blades by marine growth.”

In Maryland, Jessica will carry out detailed testing of a prototype horizontal-axis tidal turbine to obtain performance curves and flow field maps under roughened and biofouled conditions.

“This data will be invaluable to turbine designers in predicting long term performance of turbines in actual marine environments, and researchers who can utilise the data in validating models of turbines for ongoing design optimisation,” Jessica said.

Jessica has a BE(Hons) and a PhD from the University of Tasmania. She is a Civil Engineer with five years experience in engineering research projects, data acquisition, analysis, modelling and reporting. She specialises in fluid dynamics research with renewable energy and energy efficiency applications. She was the 2010 Southern Cross Young Achiever in the Science and Technology Category and a finalist for the Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year. She was the 2011 Chair of Young Engineers Australia, representing over 49,000 engineers nationally. In her spare time she enjoys hockey, bushwalking and travelling.

Molly Clemens Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionFordham University
Host InstitutionThe University of Melbourne
Award NamePostgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineEcology
Award Year2014

Molly knew she wanted to learn everything she could about plants after spending a year at Fordham University researching the invasive species, Brassica rapa. Fordham stimulated her interest in the moral and spiritual aspects of climate change research, and she began to explore what our roles as stewards of the Earth are. Molly’s first international research project was a DAAD RISE Fellowship to Germany to research the ecological effects of climate change. There, she began a series of research projects under the guidance of the Disturbance Ecology research team. Eventually, Molly headed a project to determine whether Beech trees have an adaptive measure to deal with the stressors they repeatedly experience, like drought. Molly’s German mentors also involved her in the international Frazier Project collaboration, which catalogues biodiversity of grasses from various terrains at the same time every year. This project was personally rewarding because it allowed Molly to spend hours with expert ecologists and the piles of grasses they collected. Molly thoroughly enjoyed feeling for grooves, sniffing, bending, and even tasting each grass to separate the species blade-by-blade. Molly realized from the diversity of her research team that studying environmental science is always going to be an international effort.

Molly had an amazing time going for walks with one of the botanists, where he would point out indigenous German wildflowers, invasive species, fascinating fungi, and different flowers she could use to make teas and cook with. While Molly was in Germany she also worked on a separate project studying the effect of solar radiation on experimental greenhouses to evaluate controlling precipitation. Molly passionately believes in the power of science to unite researchers to find solutions to the ecological threats we face today. She returned to the United States with a profound understanding that global collaboration truly leads to a mutual respect for differing views.

As Molly completed her studies at Fordham University, she worked on Combinatorial Fusion Analysis (CFA) with Dr. Frank Hsu, a project that taught her the framework for CFA can be applied to any system or model. The concept of CFA mirrors her goal with genetic translocations at the University of Melbourne, utilizing diversity to build a combined system. At Fordham Molly had the pleasure of working with incredibly talented women scientists, and she was able to share their passion for research by creating a Women In Science annual event for students to learn about historical achievements and present day pioneers. We live in a time of empowerment, and Molly hopes she can contribute to the movement of women into scientific research now and in the future.

Research in Australia will provide Molly with the foundation to become an expert in her field and establish bonds with one of the world’s leading research universities. The experience gained in Australia will attest to her capability of designing, leading and carrying out an innovative and significant research project, which she will use as the foundation on which to apply to a Ph.D. program. One thing Molly can’t wait to do once she has moved to Australia is run the Melbourne marathon in October, which is going to be a great part of her adventure. Molly has been working towards the Fulbright throughout her entire academic career, conducting fieldwork, genetics work, combinatorial fusion, and bioinformatics. Molly hopes to return to the U.S. with novel methodologies to be used in her graduate work and to share with the next generation of environmental scientists.

Anna Evans Postgraduate Students

Anna Evans
Home InstitutionUniversity of Newcastle
Host InstitutionMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Award NameFulbright Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy
DisciplinePublic Policy
Award Year2018

Anna has a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Physics with Distinction. Specialising in energy technology and policy, Anna has improved solar cell efficiency with the CSIRO, worked as an engineer in a coal-fired power station, and developed national policies to reduce emissions from the electricity sector.

Anna hopes to build on this expertise through a Master of Public Policy, where she will specialise in energy. During this program, Anna will draw on leading interdisciplinary thinkers to navigate the significant policy and technical challenges faced in transitioning to a low emissions electricity sector. Anna hopes to build on her technical background and undertake rigorous training in public policy to prepare her for leadership roles in energy market regulation. Anna is a passionate supporter of women in science, and hopes to learn about initiatives underway in the United States to encourage greater representation
of women.

Briony Swire-Thompson Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionThe University of Western Australia
Host InstitutionMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Award NameWestern Australia State Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplinePsychology (Cognition)
Award Year2015

Briony is a PhD candidate with the Cognitive Science Laboratories at the University of Western Australia. Her research investigates how people process misinformation, and how they update their memory when information they believe to be true turns out to be false.

Under the supervision of Associate Professor Ullrich Ecker and Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Briony’s research looks at when and why these backfire effects occur. She is currently investigating a backfire effect called the ‘familiarity backfire effect’ which occurs when retractions repeat the myth in order to correct it. For example, stating that ‘people do not only use 10% of their brain’ repeats the association between ‘10%’ and ‘brain use’, making this false link more familiar.  As people tend to assume that familiar information is true, retractions can potentially strengthen the misconceptions they are trying to correct.

This Fulbright scholarship will allow Briony to expand her research into the area of political misconceptions, and investigate the effects of political attitudes on the processing of misinformation. By collaborating with Professor Adam Berinsky from MIT’s political science department, she plans to explore a backfire effect which occurs when a person’s belief system is challenged. She states that “strong beliefs define our identity, and when they are challenged we are motivated to defend them, and this biases how we process information. The cognitive mechanisms involved in this phenomenon are still being debated, and various cognitive models of this ‘worldview backfire effect’ are currently being developed. An ideal way to study this effect is to use information which people are passionate about and hold as part of their identity—such as a person’s political beliefs.”

Briony spent a number of years living in Zimbabwe when she was young, and has since sought out opportunities to travel. During her undergraduate degree in psychology and English literature she won a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Bristol, and prior to commencing her PhD she worked in Otavalo, Ecuador for over a year.

Please note: Briony Swire-Thompson is published as Briony Swire.

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