Alumni

The Fulbright Program has more than 370,000 alumni from over 160 countries worldwide. Fulbright alumni include 33 current or former heads of state or government, 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Five thousand of those alumni belong to the Australian-American program and received their Fulbright awards from the 1950s on. You are a part of this roll call of excellence.

We aspire to deepen and expand our connection with you. We want you to be committed and contributing partners in the fostering of mutual understanding through academic and cultural exchange between Australia and the U.S. that the Fulbright Program promotes.

Some of our alumni

Thomas Hangartner Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionWright State University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne
Award Name2011 Fulbright Senior Scholar
DisciplineEngineering
Award Year2011

“Women with breast cancer often receive a treatment that has a negative effect on bones. Most of these women do not die as a result of the breast cancer but may suffer bone loss and structural decay, which increase fracture risk and decrease quality of life.”

Distinguished Professor Thomas Hangartner, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio has received a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to come to The University of Melbourne in Australia. He will study bone strength in women who have been treated for breast cancer.

“Drugs known as aromatase inhibitors have been successful in reducing the growth of cancer tissue in the breast due to their effect in lowering estrogen levels. However reducing the level of estrogen through aromatase inhibitors is likely to accelerate bone loss, although the effect is not seen in all women and not to the same degree in all women,” Professor Hangartner said.

Professor Hangartner’s Fulbright project brings together the distinctive resources at The University of Melbourne in Australia and expertise developed at Wright State University, to develop and implement an accurate computer model of bone and use it to evaluate the effect of aromatase inhibitors on bone strength in an individual patient.

The tool will have the benefits of helping to identify women with breast cancer who are most likely to fracture bones in the future so that they can be given appropriate treatment. His work will also shed light on the development of osteoporosis in healthy women.

Thomas has a Dipl. Phys. ETH, a teaching certificate (Secondary Education), and a Dr. sc. nat., from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich. He has won various awards and prizes, including Outstanding Engineer and Scientist Award, Engineering and Science Foundation of Dayton; Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Honorary Chair, Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering, The University of Manchester. In his spare time he enjoys photography as well as playing the flute, recorders and crumhorns.

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.

Aaron Hann Tapper Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of San Francisco
Host InstitutionMonash University and University of Melbourne
Award NameSenior Scholarship
DisciplineSocial Science
Award Year2013

“In ‘the Apology,’ Australia began an incredibly ambitious process of reconciliation and forgiveness. But was it successful? And, if so, can this act be reappropriated to other places in need? Does this model have the potential to transform the world?”

Prof. Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Chair and Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Francisco, has won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to come to Monash University and the University of Melbourne for six months. He will work on issues around reconciliation and forgiveness, focusing in particular on the Apology made by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February 2008, when he formally apologized to the country’s indigenous communities for their prolonged maltreatment.

“The last half century has seen powerful, new developments in the field of inter-communal reconciliation and forgiveness,” Aaron said.

“Countries like Australia have started to take ownership over past wrongdoings, committing themselves to not repeat government-sanctioned abuses.

Between December 2013 and June 2014 I will conduct research on the Apology and its potential to heal communities in non-Australian contexts.

During the six months of the research grant I will primarily focus on the first aspect of this project, the Apology and its aftermath. There is nowhere but Australia to properly conduct this research.

The primary actors in this performance of political reconciliation live in Australia, indigenous and non-indigenous people alike. Further, most scholars who have written about the Apology specifically and ATSI communities generally are also based in Australia.”

Aaron has a BA in psychology from Johns Hopkins University; a degree in religious studies from Harvard University Divinity School and a PhD in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the Mae and Benjamin Swig Chair in Jewish Studies and Director of the Jewish Studies and Social Justice program at the University of San Francisco; Co-Editor, Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and has held numerous prestigious fellowships, such as the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, a Fulbright-Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and the Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Travelling Fellowship, among others. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and reading books.

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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