2 December 2015
The Menzies Foundation annual awards presentation was hosted in Canberra last week for the first time in the organisation’s 36-year history, with scholars awarded their medallions by the Governor General at Government House.
The 2016 Scholars, along with the 2015 Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholarship recipients and 2015 Menzies Centenary Prize winner, were toasted by a host of their fellow Menzies scholars and friends of the Menzies Foundation at the medallion presentation and then at a cocktail reception at the Nishi Gallery, Hotel Hotel.
“You’re here because you have the potential to lead and to make our nation and the world a better place.
“These scholarships are for people who can make a difference. And that is your great challenge,” he said.
“From here on, your success will be judged against much more discerning criteria than purely academic grades.
“Your great challenge is not just to fulfil your academic potential, but to understand and fulfil your leadership potential to change the way things are.”
The annual awarding of medallions to the 2016 Menzies Scholars also presented an opportunity to showcase the achievements and leadership of a selection of scholars over the course of their diverse careers.
In front of an audience of their peers, Menzies Foundation Directors, Menzies Family members and invited guests of the Foundation, emcee Bernie Hobbs, award-winning science writer and broadcaster with ABC Science Online, interviewed five scholars about their respective careers.
Dr Bill Rawlinson, 1990 Menzies Scholar in Medicine, talked about his ground-breaking work in helping to identify the causes of the little-known congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is having a major impact on unborn children.
2003 Menzies Scholar in Law, Albert Dinelli, who has just returned from the London Bar, outlined the value of law to the community.
Dr Josie Barbaro spoke about the app that she and her colleagues at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University are about to launch, which will help with the early identification and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. The app is being developed by Salesforce.
The First Torres Strait Islander man to attend Harvard, Bilyana Noel Blomeley, told the audience about his passion for helping young Indigenous students gain a better education through his work with the NSW Department of Education, teaching their teachers to make the whole community a classroom to improve the learning environment.
Newly minted engineering scholar, Liz Killen, told Bernie of her desire to steal her job after completing a Masters in Science Communication at Imperial College London next year. But in all seriousness cited the NSW Chief Scientist, Professor Mary O’Kane, as a role model for women in science and talked of her passion to help young people engage in stem subjects beyond school.
MMSA Secretary and 2007 Engineering Scholar, Adrian McCallum, toasted the scholars and Chair of the Menzies Foundation, Brian Doyle AM, wrapped up the celebration saying Sir Robert Menzies would be proud of the scholars awarded in his name.