Alumni Profiles

Christopher Barrett Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionCornell University
Host InstitutionMonash University
Award NameSenior Scholarship
Award Year2012

“In this world of plenty, almost half of the world’s seven billion people live on two US dollars a day or less. Between one third and one half suffer under-nutrition due to insufficient intake of calories, protein or critical micronutrients such as vitamin A, iodine and iron.”

Professor Christopher Barrett, from the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, has won a 2012 Fulbright Senior Scholarship. Through his Fulbright, Christopher will spend six months at Monash University in Melbourne undertaking research into the effects of global food markets on poverty and food insecurity in the world.

“My research explores why such unnecessary injustice continues to disfigure a rich, technologically advanced world, and what individuals and institutions can do to reduce avoidable human suffering,” Chris said.

Chris’ research program aims to establish how poor households’ dependence on food markets is evolving. His research will include looking at the effects of new contract farming arrangements or humanitarian agency supply chains, and how changing food prices and food price risk and international market integration are co-evolving in their impacts on poor households. He will also examine what policies or financial instruments might be appropriate to help cushion any adverse effects of observed changes.

“Through the research program this Fulbright Scholarship will launch, I hope to shed light on poor households’ complex relations with global food markets so as to improve and inform ongoing policy debates in this arena,” Chris said.

This project will build on existing work he has already undertaken, and will establish research collaborations in Australia that he hopes will continue well beyond his Fulbright Scholarship.

Chris has an A.B., History, Princeton University; an M.Sc., Development Economics, University of Oxford, on a previous Fulbright Scholarship; and a dual PhD in Agricultural Economics and Economics with certificate in African Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also the Director of the Stimulating Agricultural and Rural Transformation (StART) Initiative , Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development. He has also published extensively. His research interests include poverty, food insecurity, economic policy and the structural transformation of low-income societies, issues of individual and market behavior under risk and uncertainty, and the interrelationship between poverty, food security and environmental stress in developing areas.


Zdenko Rengel Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionThe University of Western Australia
Host InstitutionKansas State University
Award NameFulbright-Kansas State University Senior Scholarship
DisciplineAgriculture (Crop Physiology)
Award Year2014

“The next ‘green’ revolution is likely to come from breeding for improved root systems”.

Zed Rengel is a Winthrop Professor in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Western Australia, with a PhD from Louisiana State University. He will do research at Kansas State University, Kansas, from July to December, 2014. The research focuses on the identification of molecular markers associated with specific wheat root traits and the incorporation of that knowledge into the ROOTMAP 3-D simulation model. The simulations can be used to search for optimality of root architecture and function in diverse environments, and aid in breeding improved genotypes with enhanced efficiency of water and nutrient use.

 “The next ‘green’ revolution is likely to come from breeding for improved root systems because the arable area in the world is limited and has been declining. Computer simulations of root systems will allow scientists to reduce costs associated with field trials aimed at finding new crop genotypes efficient in taking up water and nutrients from soils.”

Martin Thoms Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of New England
Host InstitutionWinona State University
Award NameSenior Scholarship
DisciplineEcosystems Resilience
Award Year2012

“The world’s floodplain-­rivers are valuable but threatened ecosystems. Questions on how resilient these ecosystems are to a range of impacts remain unanswered and the satisfactory resolution of how to manage these areas is a major challenge for the nation.”

Professor Martin Thoms, the Head of the Geography Department at the University of New England, has won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to go to the U.S. Geological Survey Organisation in La Crosse and the Large River Lab based at Winona State University for five months. Through his scholarship Martin extend an existing collaboration to examine the resilience of river ecosystems in relation to climate change.

Martin’s project will build on his already extensive work into floodplain river ecosystems. He will identify opportunities to: 1) use nuclear technologies to solve important environmental issues; 2) prevent rivers moving towards negative change; 3) promote rivers towards positive change; and, 4) maintain rivers in a desirable state.

“Strategic adaptive management improves the resilience capacity of rivers and their ability to recover from the impacts of disturbances, like climate change. However information on how close rivers are to tipping points and the factors that push them towards tipping points is important in determining their resilience,” Martin said.

His project will address significant knowledge gaps in relation to changing trophic structure of floodplain-rivers by reconstructing past and present food webs in aquatic ecosystems of lowland rivers of the Murray Basin and Upper Mississippi River.

Martin has a BSc and an MSc in geomorphology from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Technology, Loughborough, U.K. His achievements include being appointed as independent scientific auditor to Murray Darling Basin Authority; a UN International Scientific Team member for river studies in the Kingdom of Lesotho; President (elect) of the International Society for River Sciences; several International Association for Hydrological Sciences research prizes; and, the Binghamton International Geomorphology Prize for innovation in geomorphology. His interests include mountain biking, aboriginal art and his two energetic retrievers.

Ray Cadmore Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionSunraysia Insitute of TAFE
Host InstitutionForsyth Community Technical College
Award NameProfessional Scholarship in Vocational Education and Training (Sponsored by the Australian Government, Department of Education and Training)
DisciplineEducation (Vocational Education and Training)
Award Year2014

“It is critical the skills base of the Australian workforce meets the need for a ‘tech literate’ workforce.”

Ray Cadmore is a Senior Educator at Sunraysia Institute of TAFE and a Director of the Mildura Regional Waste Management Group, a Victorian Government statutory authority. He holds a Masters in Professional Education and Training and has a strong professional background in identifying the integration of emerging technologies and skill gaps.  He will study at the Forsyth Community Technical College under the Centre for the Biotechnology Workforce in North Carolina from July to October 2014.

His studies focus on the drivers of new and emerging technologies in vocational education and training curriculum in the U.S., in particular, the way industry, government and vocational educators engage with future training needs and with each other.

“Bio manufacturing has the capacity to become a very significant employer and could offer great economic benefit for Australians. I would like to see Australian regions take the lead in developing and innovating new technologies such as bio-manufacturing. It is critical the skills base of the Australian workforce meets the need for a ‘tech literate’ workforce.”

Damien Pearce Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionCanberra Institute of Technology, University of Canberra
Host InstitutionJohn Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York
Award Name2011 Fulbright Professional Scholar in Vocational Education and Training (VET) sponsored by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Award Year2011

“I aim to provide education and training that not only develops the skills and knowledge required to undertake a specific role description, but to also promote life-long learning and the transference of skills to new contexts.”

Damien Pearce, doctoral student in law enforcement education at the University of Southern Queensland, is the winner of the 2011 Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Vocational Education and Training (VET) sponsored by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

This Scholarship was established in 1995 to support the exchange of research and ideas in VET between Australia and the United States.Through his Fulbright, Damien will go to the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York, to undertake a comparative analysis of police education and training strategies used in Australian and the U.S. policing, from April for six months.

“Australian police are confronting increasingly complex and challenging environments of law enforcement,” Damien said.

“I aim to look at how police officers are trained in the U.S. and compare it with what we are doing in Australia. I will look for methods and strategies that they use in the U.S, to see if there are ways that we can enhance our education and training.” He will also investigate the contemporary design of the police curriculum, the practical training approaches used by police educators and look at how contemporary adult teaching methods are applied to enhance police education in the U.S.

Damien has a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Canberra; a Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching and Learning from the Canberra Institute of Technology; and trade certification as a Fitter Armourer attained while serving in the Australian Army. Damien has a long time relationship with youth development through Scouts Australia. In his spare time he enjoys outdoor activities.

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. Damien is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.

Allan Young Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionNSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure
Host InstitutionNew York City Mayor’s Office and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Award NameProfessional Scholarship in Climate Change and Clean Energy (sponsored by the U.S. and Australian Governments)
DisciplineUrban Planning – Coastal Planning
Award Year2013

“Adaptation to sea level rise is a significant global issue and requires concerted action in both Australia and the U.S. There is a groundswell of government and community interest in sea level rise and this is the opportune time to respond in a positive and pragmatic way.”

Mr Allan Young, Manager, Coastal Policy, NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure has won one of two of the Fulbright Professional Scholarships in Climate Change and Clean Energy for 2013, sponsored by the U.S. and Australian governments. Through his Fulbright, Allan will go to the New York City Mayor’s Office and MIT in Boston for four months to work on urban planning issues around adapting to climate change.

“Sea level rise due to climate change will affect almost every aspect of coastal life for communities in Australia and the U.S. How we plan and adapt is a vitally important global issue but it is still a relatively young field of inquiry,” Allan said.

“I will study how the shared knowledge and experience of Australia and the U.S. can be used to improve our land use planning systems and to better engage the community to generate workable solutions,” Allan said.

“My program will build essential skills and networks between Australia and the United States in this crucial and complex field.”

Allan has a BA and DipEd, University of New South Wales; DipLib, University of Technology, Sydney; Master of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Sydney. In his professional career, he has played a major role in the creation of the first Aboriginal owned and managed national parks in NSW; and led the policy and planning reforms in East Timor to enable the new nation to create their first conservation reserve. He has also delivered major reforms of the planning systems and regulations pertaining to Sydney Harbour. His interests include public policy, behavioural economics and all things coastal.

Dean Freestone Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne
Host InstitutionColumbia University
Award NameVictoria State Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineMathematics (Statistical Inference)
Award Year2014

With support from the Fulbright Victoria Scholarship Fund, established in 2008 by contributions from the Victorian Government and all Victorian universities.

Dean Freestone is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Neural Engineering and Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He will work with Professor Liam Paninski at the Department of Statistics, Columbia University. Dean’s interests lie in reverse engineering the brain which he sees as one of the greatest challenges faced by scientists today.

His research will address this grand challenge by developing a framework for creating large-scale, subject-specific, mathematical brain models. The techniques that will be developed are similar to those used in meteorology, where weather observations and physical laws are combined to create models of the environment.

The new framework will integrate subject-specific electrical recordings with mathematical descriptions of the cortical circuits. Subject-specific models will act like a blueprint an individual’s neural circuits, enabling the application of control engineering methods to treat neurological disorders

Daniel Viete Postdoctoral Scholars

Home InstitutionMonash University
Host InstitutionUniversity of California – Santa Barbara
Award NameVictoria State Postdoctoral Scholarship
DisciplineGeology – Tectonics
Award Year2013

“In recent years, large offshore earthquakes have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The availability of sophisticated techniques to identify the risk of a large earthquake could have significantly reduced the death toll in each case.”

Dr Daniel Viete, a postdoctoral fellow at Monash University is the winner of the 2013 Fulbright Victoria Scholarship, sponsored by the Victorian Government and Victorian universities. Daniel will go to the University of California – Santa Barbara to study geology, and in particular the geology of deep earthquakes. His work will focus on ‘subduction zones’, which occur at tectonically-active ocean–continent boundaries, and provide a location for most of the world’s large earthquakes.

“Large earthquakes that occur at depth within subduction zones have been responsible for hundreds of thousands of human deaths. However, subduction zones remain one of the most poorly understood components of the Earth system,” Daniel said.

Daniel’s project will test the hypothesis that metamorphism (changes in the minerals that comprise a rock) can result from modifications in temperature and pressure conditions triggered by large earthquakes.

“Such earthquake-induced metamorphism would cause changes in the physical properties of the ruptured rocks, leaving a signature of earthquake activity that could be identified using remote geophysical methods. Confirmation of the hypothesis could assist development of new geophysical tools for assessment of earthquake risk,” Daniel said.

Daniel’s study will contribute to understanding of the links between earthquake activity and metamorphism in subduction zones.

“Knowledge of these links can be used to inform the development of methods to detect regions of subducted slabs (on the basis of their geophysical properties) that may present a threat to human society from large earthquakes.”

Daniel has BSc and BEng from Monash University and a PhD from ANU. He has won awards including a Young Author of the Year Award, from Journal of the Geological Society, and Outstanding Student Paper Award, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco. His interests include playing baseball and golf, studying the natural world and volunteering with community and environmental organizations.

Margit Bowler Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionReed College
Host InstitutionAustralian National University
Award Name2011 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar
Award Year2011

“Although Warlpiri is one of the most widely spoken Australian Aboriginal languages it, like many Indigenous languages, is at a high risk of language extinction.”

Ms Margit Bowler, a recent graduate from Reed College, has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to come to the Australian National University to study some aspects of Warlpiri, which is an Australian Indigenous language.

“Several unusual linguistic properties of Warlpiri pose challenges to traditionally accepted linguistic theories,” Margit said. “To date, there is still no agreement within the linguistic community on a single analysis of Warlpiri.”

Margit will research the syntax and semantics of sentences in Warlpiri with respect to quantifiers, which are words such as “each” and “all”.

“Warlpiri belongs to a very small subset of “non-configurational” languages that potentially do not possess a hierarchical internal structure,” Margit said.

“Furthermore, the words in a Warlpiri sentence can occur in almost any order. It is unclear what effect these features have on how quantifiers are interpreted in the language.”

Margit will supplement her research by attending courses at the Australian National University, through a mentorship under Dr. Jane Simpson at ANU and she will also conduct fieldwork in the Northern Territory within communities that have a significant Warlpiri speaking population.

Margit has a BA in linguistics from Reed College. She has won various awards and prizes including commendations in scholastic excellence from Reed, a National Science Foundation REU grant to complete an internship at the Oregon Health & Science University’s Center for Spoken Language Understanding in Beaverton, Oregon and a North Oregon Coast scholarship, and she has been a Rotary exchange student in Austria. She will enter a PhD program in linguistics at UCLA, with a Chancellor’s Fellowship, upon completion of her Fulbright. In her spare time she enjoys traditional Scandinavian dance and is a keen musician, playing the violin and Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle.

Emmet Cleary Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionCalifornia Institute of Technology
Host InstitutionThe University of Adelaide
Award NamePostgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineChemical Engineering
Award Year2012

“Current sources and means of producing energy make it difficult to meet the world’s growing energy needs. Projections indicate that this demand will continue to increase.”

Mr Emmet Cleary, a recent graduate in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, has won a Fulbright Scholarship to come to the University of Adelaide for eleven months. Through his Fulbright Emmet will examine a cleaner way to generate energy and will apply it to solid fuels.

“Scientists have made tremendous strides in energy research, finding new and more efficient ways of harvesting energy to meet the increasing demand. Combustion processes are currently used to meet most of our energy needs, and apply broadly to many demand sectors: transportation, industry, commercial and residential buildings, and electricity generation. Although combustion technology is so widely used, it is far from perfect; there is still much room for improvement,” Emmet said.

Emmet’s research will focus on a technique that burns fuels with lower emissions of pollutants, known as moderate or intense low-oxygen dilution (MILD) combustion. His proposed project will study the MILD combustion regime of pulverized coal, an industrially important solid fuel, at the Centre for Energy Technology (CET) at the University of Adelaide.

According to Emmet, while previous studies with this technique have focused on natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas, it is of crucial importance to expand these studies to include solid fuels.

“This burner has been used for studies with sawdust, suggesting the potential for expansion to a broad range of solid fuels. As solid fuels make up the largest fraction of fossil fuels burned on an industrial scale, a better understanding of the MILD combustion of solid fuels is essential to realize the environmental benefits of this unique regime.”

In addition to his BS, Emmet has won a number of undergraduate fellowships. He has represented the U.S. in Irish Dancing, and is also an accomplished pianist.



Amanda Franklin Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne
Host InstitutionUniversity of Melbourne
Award NameTufts University
DisciplineSexual selection in an aquatic species
Award Year2012

“Throughout the animal kingdom, there are many fascinating and intriguing animal behaviours. The most enthralling are those behaviours involved in sexual reproduction.”

Ms Amanda Franklin, a recent Masters graduate in science from the University of Melbourne, has been awarded one of the coveted International Fulbright Science and Technology Awards. These accolades are the most prestigious and valuable awards offered by the U.S. Government. The IS&T Awards cover full tuition, stipend and living expenses for three years to undertake a PhD in the U.S. They are offered to only about 40 people worldwide.

Through her Fulbright Amanda will undertake a PhD in animal behavior, in particular communication and reproductive behaviors in mantis shrimp.

“Visual displays during courtship and male-male competition are common and can include elaborate courtship displays by male birds of paradise to aggressive, intimidating displays by frill-necked lizards. The individuals performing these behaviours do so in an attempt to maximise their fecundity and pass on their genes to the next generation,” Amanda said.

“My ideal career would be to become a successful animal behaviour researcher. After completing a PhD, I would like to begin a Post Doctorate. I am very interested in the evolution of mating strategies and how this can relate to endangered species survival and also to sustainable fishing practices.”.

She said that mantis shrimp are ideal for her study because they have the most complex visual system in the animal kingdom. During courtship and aggressive displays, they appear to flash colored patches on their bodies to one another. However, even though mantis shrimp have such incredible eyesight, there is surprisingly little research into these interactions and the role of visual signals.

Amanda has MSc in Animal Behaviour from The University of Melbourne and a BSc in Zoology/Marine Biology from the University of Melbourne. She has won awards and prizes including a National Master of Science Scholarship and student awards from the Victorian Marine Science Consortium and Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour. She also has a Certificate III in Tourism Guiding from the William Angliss Institute of TAFE. She was a presenter on a community radio station’s (3CR) marine radio program, “Out of the Blue” and has been a volunteer with the Harnas Wildlife Foundation volunteer program in Namibia, Africa. In her spare time she enjoys snorkelling, travelling, photography and learning French.


Jana Soares Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionSt. Edward’s University
Host InstitutionUniversity of Technology Sydney
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2015

Jana Soares graduated Magna Cum Laude, from the Honors Program, with a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas in May 2015. As an undergraduate student, she was a Holy Cross Scholar, receiving a four-year merit-based full tuition scholarship, was on the Dean’s List each semester, and conducted three scientific research projects related to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, food-borne illness, and hospital-acquired infections. She also worked as a Resident Assistant for three years, a Hilltop Mentor, a Student Ambassador, was involved in many academic clubs, and helped lead service projects.

As a sophomore, Jana won an Undergraduate Research Capstone Award to attend and present her research at the American Society for Microbiology 113th General Meeting in Denver, Colorado. She also presented her research at the Texas Academy of Science conferences and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Jana was a recipient of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society Alfred H. Nolle Scholarship in 2014, and upon graduating, received the St. Edward’s University Presidential Award and the Outstanding Graduate in Biology Award in 2015.

According to the WHO’s 2014 report, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a risk to treating common infections in hospitals. Each year, in the United States, 1 in 25 patients has at least one hospital-acquired infection (HAI), resulting in 75,000 deaths, and in Australia, there are 200,000 cases of HAIs. It is important to discover a way to slow the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, to prevent illnesses and deaths. Jana is interested in how scientific research can spur innovations and help provide solutions to pressing global health problems such as antibiotic resistance. Her Fulbright research will incorporate the study of antibiotics and bacterial interactions in a nematode model organism, using cutting-edge imaging technologies, to identify alternatives to standard antibiotic treatment.

As a Fulbright scholar with a passion to improve people’s lives, Jana seeks to learn as much as possible while in Australia.  She hopes her research will allow her to approach large problems with a scientific understanding, and plans to broaden her perspective through participation in available opportunities in professional, academic and work environments.  Jana is interested in translating scientific research findings into improvements that help the public, and aspires to attend lectures and partake in workshops to learn how scientific innovations are making an impact on the world.  Beyond her research in the lab, Jana looks forward to immersing herself in Australian culture by sampling different cuisines, exploring new sights, and taking part in recreational activities.

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