Alumni Profiles

Virginia Carrieri-Kohlman Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionUniversity of California San Francisco
Host InstitutionUniversity of Technology Sydney
Award Name2011 Fulbright Senior Scholar
DisciplineMedical Science
Award Year2011

“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is a leading cause of illness and mortality worldwide resulting in an economic and social burden that is both substantial and increasing.”

Professor Virginia (Ginger) Carrieri-Kohlman, a professor with the Department of Physiological Nursing, University of California-San Francisco, has won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to travel to the University of Technology, Sydney for six months to test an online dyspnea self-management intervention for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

“The suffering and disability for people with COPD is primarily due to the symptom of dyspnea or shortness of breath” Ginger said.

Through her Fulbright, Ginger will test the feasibility and efficacy of an Internet-based dyspnea self-management intervention for people with lung disease in Australia. This program has been shown to be effective for people with COPD in the United States.

“If found to be effective internationally, this web-based intervention will transcend geographic barriers and provide tailored monitoring, education, exercise and skills training for people suffering from lung disease in all settings and all phases of illness,” Ginger said.

Ginger has a BS from Cornell University/New York Hospital School of Nursing, an MS and a DNSc from the University of California, San Francisco. She has also won various awards and prizes, including being elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing; election as Helen Nahm UCSF Distinguished Research Lecturer, UCSF School of Nursing; an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award; and a Cornell University-NY Hospital School of Nursing 45th Reunion Distinguished Alumnus Award. She has also published extensively. In her spare time she enjoys, visiting with her three daughters, travelling, gardening, and swimming.

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.

Charles Meneveau Senior Scholars

Home InstitutionJohn Hopkins University
Host InstitutionThe University of Melbourne
Award NameSenior Scholarship
Award Year2012

“What is the best distance between wind turbines in a wind farm that maximizes power extraction? How far apart should organic crops be planted from genetically modified crops to avoid cross-pollination? How can we reduce the power lost due to frictional drag forces acting on airplanes, ships and cars?—The answers to these and many other questions depend crucially on a branch of fluid dynamics called turbulence research.”

Professor Charles Meneveau, a professor in mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, has won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to spend six months at the University of Melbourne. Professor Meneveau is an internationally recognised expert on a field of engineering researching turbulence, and he will use his Fulbright to explore a new dimension of this field.

“Turbulent fluid motions affect many important processes, such as power production in wind farms, pollen dispersal, and drag on airplanes,” Charles said.

“A most challenging aspect of turbulence is its dual nature combining ordered and random fluid motion.”

Charles’ past research has focused on models inspired by the random nature of turbulence. Australia’s Melbourne group is at the international forefront studying turbulence’s coherent nature. His time with the Melbourne group will give him the opportunity to develop and test new hybrid turbulence models, combining both random and coherent elements.

“The new models will enable more trustworthy computer predictions of turbulent flows in (e.g.) wind farms, pollen dispersion, etc.,” Charles said.

Charles has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering: Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Valparaíso (Chile), a Master of Science from Yale University, a Master of Philosophy from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering: Yale University. He has been the recipient of the Julian D. Cole Award from the AIAA, the Stanley Corrsin Award from the American Physical Society (APS), is a Fellow of APS, the American Academy of Mechanics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and was elected foreign corresponding member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences in 2005. He is the Deputy Editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Turbulence. In his spare time he enjoys music, film and travel.


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.”

Anthony Bell Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionQueen Elizabeth Hospital
Host InstitutionHarvard University
Award NameProfessional Coral Sea Scholarship (Business / Industry)
DisciplineEmergency Management
Award Year2012

“Demand is growing in Emergency Department systems that are already over-burdened and faced with rising costs of care, overcrowding and subsequent ambulance diversion. These factors fragment care and threaten the quality of care patients receive. It is neither desirable nor sustainable.”

Dr Anthony Bell, Director of Emergency Medicine at Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital, is the 2012 winner of the Fulbright Professional Business/Industry (Coral Sea) Scholarship. This Fulbright scholarship was established by former U.S. Ambassador Mel Sembler and U.S. companies to recognise the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea and address business and industry issues common to Australia and the U.S.

Through his Fulbright, Anthony plans to undertake an Executive Education programme at Harvard University that would underpin his research into Emergency Department management policy.

“Emergency Departments (EDs) in Australia and the US share many common challenges. The modern emergency care system is a relatively new innovation in both countries and only properly governed as a recognised specialty in Australia since 1983 with the formation of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM).,” Anthony said.

“The opportunity to undertake systems based research in the context of a US-Australian sponsored scholarly programme provides the opportunity for cross fertilisation of ideas, informing strategies and fostering understanding of shared issues.”

After he returns from the U.S., Anthony will carry out research and development of a framework for Australian EDs. The Fulbright sponsored component will focus on linking available funding to clinical workforce, in the context of National Health Reform.

The primary outcome is to create an evidence based ED workforce decision support tool as a key component of the performance management framework for EDs. The secondary project aim is to allow planning and funding of future ED workforce occurs in a co-ordinated and transparent manner that provides equitable access to emergency health care for the right patients in the right place at the right time.

Anthony has MBBS from University of Western Australia, and an MBA from Queensland University of Technology. He is also the Clinical Chair of Queensland State-wide ED Network, a Clinical Senator and he has won awards and prizes including the QUT MBA Director’s Award for academic excellence and two Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Fund grants. His interests include travel and spending time with his family.

Sean O’Toole Professional Scholars

Home InstitutionNSW Department of Family and Community Services
Host InstitutionUniversity at Albany, State University of New York
Award NameProfessional Scholarship in Vocational Education and Training (Sponsored by the Australian Government, Department of Education and Training)
DisciplineEducation (Australian Aboriginal Education)
Award Year2015

Sean grew up on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, coming from a small regional centre Sean was eager to broaden his view of the world.  He saw a continuing commitment to tertiary education throughout his life as an important part of that journey.

After finishing his first degree at Charles Sturt University, Sean returned to Port Stephens where he had grown up and took a job as a journalist on the local newspaper. Sean was able to use this experience to provide a platform for local environmental and social causes. This also kindled an interest in local Aboriginal people and he published a range of stories highlighting the Aboriginal culture of the area.

Later that year, Sean joined the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and worked as a detective in the Sydney office.  A strong driver in this role was his sense of justice and the great satisfaction that Sean drew from being able to assist victims of crime. While Sean was in the AFP he obtained a Master of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales. Sean’s major was Australian studies and this included an historical analysis of Aboriginal people and culture which opened his eyes to the plight of Indigenous Australians and the terrible dislocation and disparities they faced.

In 1993 Sean took on a policy analyst role in the NSW Ministry for Police and then went on to work as a senior policy analyst for NSW Corrective Services. During this time he began working part-time at night as a teacher for TAFE and gained formal VET qualifications in adult education. NSW Corrective Services has a large training academy, and in 1997 Sean accepted a role running the professional development team. Sean obtained a Masters in Education and moved into a range of leadership roles over the next nine years. He ultimately became Academy Director.

In 2006, Sean was appointed Director Learning & Development with the NSW Department of Community Services. Eventually, this department was amalgamated with several others to form Family and Community Services – effectively the social justice arm of government.  He became Director Learning & Development for this larger department, which is still his role today.

Over the past decade Sean has had five books published, studied at Harvard University, won a Churchill Fellowship and become an accredited executive coach. Sean has also had a platform in this role for his writing and has been fortunate to have had a wide range of his work experiences both published and presented as conference papers.

Aboriginal children and families are grossly over-represented as clients of the human services system in all Australian States and in many international jurisdictions where there are significant indigenous populations, including the USA. Over the past decade, Sean has been part of a process of developing the capabilities and building the career paths of Aboriginal staff in the human services sector in NSW as a means of addressing some of this imbalance.

An understanding of cultural differences is at the heart of good organisational education and career development programs that have a meaningful impact on indigenous employees. Sean’s project aims to strengthen the capability and career options for Aboriginal people working in the human services sector. It builds on best practices in learning approaches and career development programs delivered via the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) for indigenous people working in the social welfare context in the United States.

Detailed research into the success factors for the NCWWI’s programs can be leveraged to enhance career development opportunities for Aboriginal Australians in human services. Furthermore, in the course of conducting this research and working collaboratively with the NCWWI, Sean believes there will be multiple opportunities to share insights, which will benefit practitioners in this field in both countries.

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.

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.



Daniel McNamara Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionAustralian National University
Host InstitutionSchool of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Award NameFulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineComputer Science
Award Year2016

Daniel is a PhD candidate in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He is an external student based in the Machine Learning Research Group at Data61, the digital innovation unit of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Daniel’s research focuses on the development of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions about data. In particular, he investigates methods for learning representations of data that can be used to demonstrably improve prediction performance. The success of machine learning algorithms is highly dependent on the features they receive as inputs, which have traditionally been handcrafted by human experts. However, cutting edge techniques allow the algorithm to learn such features itself from raw data, similar to the way that humans learn more abstract representations of complex sensory inputs. This has led to state-of-the-art results in applications such as natural language processing and computer vision. Daniel’s research focuses on the theoretical foundations behind such methods in order to better understand and improve upon them.

Daniel has authored academic publications from previous research projects in data mining and the digital humanities. He completed his Honours year in Computer Science at ANU, for which he received a University Medal. He holds a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne, which included receiving the Google Computer Science Prize. He also has experience in the intelligent use of data in professional contexts, including at the online analytics platform Kaggle, the management consulting firm Nous Group, and the Australian Labor Party. He is the founder of the website, an open democracy project allowing individuals and businesses to visualise government spending on commercial tenders.

Daniel will be spending several months at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. During his stay he will be hosted by A/Prof Maria-Florina Balcan and will be based in the Machine Learning Department within the School of Computer Science. CMU sits in the elite tier of universities worldwide for computer science, and is particularly known for its strength in fundamental theoretical research in machine learning. Daniel is looking forward to the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with CMU academics and students. Following his return to Australia, he will use the skills gained from the visit within academia and industry.

Roxanne Moore Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Western Australia
Host InstitutionNew York University
Award NameWestern Australia State Postgraduate Scholarship
DisciplineLaw – International Human Rights
Award Year2013

“I aspire to become a human rights advocate; to use the power of the law to protect the rights of vulnerable people and to demand justice where human rights have been abused.”

Ms Roxanne Moore, lawyer, will have the opportunity to spend a year at New York University through winning one of two Fulbright Western Australia Scholarships sponsored by the Western Australian Government and universities. She will undertake a LLM (International Legal Studies), specialising in public international law and human rights law. Roxanne will learn about comparative human rights systems and gain expertise in specific topics, with a view to contributing to Australian human rights law reform and becoming an advocate.

“This experience will provide me with an excellent foundation to return to Australia to advocate for human rights within the current legal framework – either via pro-bono work as a commercial lawyer or barrister, or by working for a non-government organisation – and to significantly contribute to reforming Australia’s legal structures for human rights protection,” Roxanne said.

Her further study aims to achieve four objectives: to expand and develop her knowledge about international law and international systems; to learn about comparative human rights law systems, particularly in the Asia Pacific region; to increase her knowledge about specific human rights topics; and to gain practical experience in human rights advocacy and research.

“Studying a LLM in the U.S. will provide many opportunities not otherwise available in Australia; to learn from the most respected academics and leaders in their field at the highest ranked universities in the world and to gain hands-on experience in human rights advocacy through participation in the university clinics.”

Roxanne has an LLB (Dist.)/BA (Indonesian Language) from the University of Western Australia and was admitted as a lawyer in 2012. Roxanne previously represented UWA in the international rounds of the Philip C Jessup International Law Mooting Competition, and after graduating became the Principal Associate to the Hon Chief Justice Martin AC of the Supreme Court of WA. She has volunteered with many organisations, but most extensively with Amnesty International Australia, for whom she founded the national ARTillery arts festival, culminating in her recognition as a finalist for the 2010 WA Young Person of the Year Award. Her interests include learning languages,live music and the Arts.

Nathan Pensler Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionPitzer College, Claremont California
Host InstitutionThe Australian National University
Award NamePostgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2013

“Questions about scientific rationality are important for policy decisions and are of general public interest. When policymakers or laypersons accept a scientific theory based on testimony from scientists, it is preferable to know why scientific institutions are trustworthy producers of knowledge. Additionally, scientific rationality also figures into significant legal decisions.”

Mr Nathan Pensler, a recent graduate in philosophy from Pitzer College in Claremont California is a 2013 Fulbright Scholar sponsored by the ANU College of Business and Economics. He will come to the Australian National University in Canberra to further his studies in Philosophy. Nathan’s particular areas of expertise are epistemology and the philosophy of science. His research is at the intersection of these two areas, in the field of formal epistemology.

“Exciting interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature and scope of human rationality is being conducted in a field known as formal epistemology. Formal epistemology is a subarea in philosophy that uses mathematical techniques to study human reasoning.” Nathan said.

While in Canberra, Nathan will investigate philosophical theories of scientific rationality. He will study Bayesian Confirmation Theory, a mathematical model that uses concepts from the study of probability, and Inference to the Best Explanation, a qualitative account. Nathan hopes to determine whether these two accounts can be unified and if so, explore how this unification can best be carried out. He plans to investigate these two ways of thinking about scientific reasoning with Professor Alan Hájek, an ANU professor of philosophy who is a leading researcher in formal epistemology.

Nathan has a BA in Philosophy from Pitzer College. Nathan won several awards and grants while at Pitzer and attended the selective Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy. His interests include mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.

Israel Del Toro Postgraduate Students

Home InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts
Host InstitutionCSIRO Climate Adaption Flagship
Award NameFulbright CSIRO Postgraduate Scholarship
Award Year2012

“To better understand and predict the consequences of global environmental change on biodiversity, we must first understand the current state of natural communities and how community composition can change across broad geographic gradients, including latitude and elevation.”

Mr Israel Del Toro, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is this year’s winner of the CSIRO sponsored Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship. Through his Fulbright, Israel will explore the role of ants as environmental indicators with the Climate Adaptation Flagship, in the Northern Territory.

“Global climate change threatens ecological communities by shifting species distributions and altering how species assemble into communities,” Israel said.

“This type of study is necessary for creatures which are key functional members of terrestrial ecosystems and account for much of the diversity on the planet.”

Israel will study how assemblages of ants vary along environmental gradients in the seasonal tropics of Northern Australia, and how dominant and abundant species may respond to climate change. He said that ants are excellent model organisms because their species diversity is high and generally well understood, they are sensitive to environmental stressors, and are widely used as indicators of environmental change.

“My research will improve the current predictive capacity about how assemblages of important species in ecosystems will respond to climate change. It is important to understand the effects of climate change on community assembly and species distributions at continental scales and so this line of research is likely to enhance bilateral collaborations between the U.S. and Australian research institutions.”

Israel has a BS in biology and environmental science from the University of Texas, El Paso. He has won prizes and awards including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a NEAGEP Doctoral Student Fellowship, and a National Geographic Society Young Explorer’s Grant. In his spare time he takes part in University Clubs and plays softball for a local team “the Unnatural Selection”.

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