I’ve just had the privilege to catch up with a number of our scholars in the States, as I started a course on Fundraising at Harvard University.
It’s one of the most joyous parts of my role to meet with the Menzies Scholars, hear their stories and find out what incredible challenge they are hoping to tackle next. They are all so different, at varying stages of their career and with different passions. But they have one thing in common; the vision and drive to do things better.
From the young team still studying at Harvard and exploring ways to remodel our health system or innovative approaches to overcoming inequality, to the 1997 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Bob Anderson, who has taken his expertise to the States to advance his search for a coeliac vaccine, you see very clearly why these people have been awarded and how they have the potential to change Australia for the better.
We have just awarded scholarships to the class of 2017 and if you read their stories below you will see the calibre of people stays at an incredibly high level year after year. That’s why an organisation like the Menzies Foundation is approaching 40 years of nurturing Australia’s future leaders.
Sarah Hardy CEO, Menzies Foundation
2017 Menzies Scholarships awarded
Law and International Law
The newly awarded 2017 Menzies Scholar in Law and the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholar in International Law share an interest in refugee issues but might be taking their careers in slightly different directions as they head to the UK next year.
2017 Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholar in International Law, Lyndon Goddard, of Sydney, says he would like to contribute to the development of refugee policy and creating greater awareness of Australia’s international legal obligations when he returns from studying a Master of Laws at Cambridge. Lyndon is currently working with King & Wood Mallesons.
Melbourne’s Nathan Van Wees, the 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Scholar in Law, who topped his year of 400 at Monash University, has a few plans after he completes his BCL at Oxford next year. Nathan would like to work in academia by adding to the theoretical frameworks for interpreting Australian legislation. He would also like to work as a barrister to put this understanding into practice. Nathan is working at the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Olsen Garland, the 2017 Menzies Scholar in Engineering, has some disruptive energy ideas to shake up the energy sector after he completes his MBA at the London Business School. He wants to help bring cheaper, more efficient, zero-emission electricity to markets at home and abroad by combining business nous with his electrical engineering skills.
A physiotherapist who is studying the cultural differences in pain awareness, management and patient interactions, has been awarded the 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences.
The first Western Sydney University student to be awarded a Menzies Scholarship, Bernadette Brady, will complete her PhD on the project “The inequities of chronic pain – responding with culturally responsive physiotherapy”.
Bernadette, who works in the pain clinic at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney, says despite more than half of the Australian population being born overseas or having one parent born overseas, no published randomised controlled trial into interventions for chronic pain management (our second highest health care expense) has included culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) participants.
This month the Menzies Foundation was very excited to announce a new partnership with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) to offer the Sir Robert Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellowship valued at $20,000 for one year.
MITS is a residential transition school in Melbourne, for Indigenous students from remote and regional communities.
Every year, one young Indigenous leader will receive the Fellowship, enabling them to provide essential mentoring, peer support, and cultural connection to MITS students on a regular basis throughout the school year, whilst undertaking their own study.
2013 Menzies Law Scholar, David Heaton, is on the Board of MITS.
It was quite a coup to hear from Baroness Amos, former UK politician and UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs. A number of Menzies scholars and Directors were able to spend time with Baroness Amos over dinner and morning tea, which was an incredible privilege.
You can read Baroness Amos’ full Oration on preparing global citizens and protecting freedom of speech: the role of universities, here.
Our scholars do amazing things
Life after the Olympics: two-time Australian Olympic diver and 2004 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Mike Murphy, told us about gaining perspective on life after sport and the roles he plays now as Principal of Bain Capital, Chair of Diving Australia, husband and father.
The smartphone app which helps parents identify the early signs of autism, ASDetect, developed by 2006 Menzies Scholar in Allied Health, Dr Josephine Barbaro, was one of the 10 Australian finalists in the Google Impact Challenge. The award of $250,000 for the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University will mean the app can be translated into Mandarin. The app also won a national iAward for Research and Development Project of the year.
1991 Menzies Scholar in Medicine, Professor Bill Rawlinson AM, one of the world’s leading researchers into the cause and prevention of Congenital CMV (the most common viral and infectious cause of congenital disability in newborns) has just been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He joins other Menzies Alumni, Professor Matthew Kiernan (one of the leading researchers into Motor Neurone Disease), Professor Jamie Vandenberg from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Centre, and Professor Robyn O’Hehir AO, who is leading research into a peanut allergy vaccine.
Professor Vandenberg (1989 Menzies Scholar in Medicine) has also been announced as one of the recipients of an NHMRC Research Fellowship valued at over $800,000 to conduct research on sudden cardiac arrest: improving detection of patients at risk.
1993 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Professor Esther Charlesworth will celebrate a decade of humanitarian projects for Architects Without Frontiers (the organisation she established) on 22 November, with a fundraising event featuring Julian Burnside AO.
Composer, teacher and 2001 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Nicholas Vines, was in Boston for the performance of his music and libretto as part of the 10th anniversary production of Guerilla Opera’s Loose, Wet and Perforated.
For Mental Health Week, 2003 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Kerry Proctor, talked about her experiences in implementing programs that work to help reduce the instances of bullying towards same-sex attracted young people and the potential impacts of a plebiscite on marriage equality.
1985 Menzies Scholar in Law, Justice Susan Kenny of the Federal Court had some advice for potential Menzies Law scholars.
In the media
2008 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow in Medicine, Dr Misty Jenkins, was named as one of the Westpac 100 Women of Influence.
Never one to shy away from the controversial issues, Medical ethicist and 1994 Menzies Scholar in Medicine, Professor Julian Savalescu, gave his thoughts to the ABC on whether doctors should have the right to conscientiously object.
1994 Menzies Scholar in Law, Dominique Hogan-Doran, was named Barrister of the Year at the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards.
Theoretical physicist at MIT and 2006 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Dr Tracey Slatyer, did a Q&A with Quanta Magazine about dark matter and her fascinating work.
2015 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Matthew Tyler, continues his strong advocacy on social issues, with a thought-provoking piece on different methods of tackling homelessness and another on Pay for Success contracting to improve the effectiveness of social services in Australia.
Another Harvard Menzies Alumna (2002), Alexandra West, was appointed as the first manager of innovation and strategy with Cbus.
World first longitudinal study to help children with joint hypermobility
Children and adolescents with joint hypermobility will benefit from the 2016 Menzies Foundation Allied Health Grant of $25,000, which has been awarded to 2012 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Verity Pacey.
The project called ‘Clinical characteristics of children with generalised joint hypermobility: a 5 year longitudinal cohort study’, aims to identify the signs and symptoms of children and adolescents most likely to worsen in terms of pain, fatigue and quality of life over a 5-year period.
This is the first and only prospective longitudinal cohort study of children and adolescents with symptomatic joint hypermobility to be undertaken in the world.
The Hon Linda Burney MP, shadow Minister for Human Services, will deliver the 2016 Menzies Oration on Friday 18 November at the Darwin Convention Centre for the Menzies School of Health Research. The first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives will deliver the Oration on ‘Truth Telling and Generosity: Healing the Heart of a Nation’.
Menzies Health Institute Queensland has celebrated its first year with an event up at the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University. Director of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland and newly appointed Pro Vice Chancellor Health at Griffith, Professor Sheena Reilly, acknowledged the role of the Foundation in helping shape the direction for Menzies HIQ and said the focus would continue to be about the translation of research which makes a difference in people’s lives and improves health and wellbeing. Take a look at this great video about MHIQ’s work.
Menzies Institute of Medical Research in Hobart hosted the 2016 Menzies Debate on the Stem Cell Revolution, more hype than hope? Over 220 people attended to hear from some of the best stem cell researchers in the country including; Associate Professor Tracey Dickson, Menzies Deputy Director and leader of the Neurodegenerative Diseases/Brain Injury research theme at Menzies, Dr Kaylene Young, Menzies neuroscientist and winner of the 2014 Metcalf Prize for Stem Cell Research and Associate Professor Alex Hewitt, Menzies/School of Medicine clinician and researcher in Ophthalmology, winner of the 2015 NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship Award.