• Summer 2017 Newsletter


    From the Desk of the CEO: Annemarie Rolls

    Dear Friends,

    Our focus in the time since our last newsletter been on our core purpose; the selection of our new cohort of Scholars. Following a total of 100 State panel interviews and 40 National Panel interviews we have awarded 18 scholarships to a group of inspiring scholars. We are delighted to introduce the 2018 John Monash Scholars. Their citations follow so you can begin to understand what makes them so special.

    The Announcement Ceremony on 30th November was a joyful occasion as always. It was particularly special this year to have Professor Dame Marie Bashir AD CV with us to receive her life membership of the Foundation. Her thoughtful speech exhibited extraordinary energy and charm. Our event was Professor Dame Marie’s fourth function of the day and we thank her for her generous commitment to the Foundation and remarkable fortitude.

    As we wrap up another productive year, I want to say how grateful we are for the support we receive from our supporters, volunteers and hard-working board. I am particularly thankful to the team who keep the cogs moving in the office, a relentlessly busy place and our wonderful scholars, who inspire us each day. I would like to say a special thanks to Dr Mark Schembri (2009 Scholar and Board Director) and Dr Amy McLellan (2009 Scholar) who are giving back so much as they lead the Alumni Committee and will be driving the Alumni Community engagement in the future. Amy is busy designing the New York Symposium which will run on the 15th and 16th March 2018. This global symposium builds upon similar events previously held in Brussels, Oxford and Australia.

    This Symposium commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Hamel, a particularly significant event in Australian history and leadership. The American location is a reminder of this celebrated moment when General Sir John Monash commanded both Australian and US troops and the strong collaboration between the US and Australia in WW1. We look forward to working with our friends the American Australian Association on this event.

    Our Annual Report for the 2016-2017 financial year has been published and is available online here.

    Thank you for your interest in our work and the scholars we support. We wish you all the very best for a restful and joyful holiday season and a wonderful 2018.

    Warm regards,

    The Announcement of the 2018 John Monash Scholars 

    The Announcement of the 2018 John Monash Scholars took place on 30 November at the Sydney Opera house. The event is always a highlight of the Foundation’s calendar as we formally announce the newest John Monash Scholars. This year, we were delighted to introduce our 18 awardees. This exciting group of future leaders cover a vast array of disciplines and are all outstanding in their individual fields. The event was attended by over 150 friends and supporters of the Foundation. The new Scholars were announced and presented with a gift by a representative of their scholarship supporter. We are excited to welcome this new group and we will be sure to keep the Foundation community updated on all that they are achieving in the future. For more information on each of the 2018 scholars please read on below. More in depth citations are also kept up to date on our website here

    Picture: the 2018 John Monash Scholars at the Announcement Ceremony, Sydney Opera House with Chairman Jillian Segal AM (Not pictured, 2018 John Monash Scholar Heather Muir)

     Diary Dates 

    • December 22nd – 3rd January 2018 Foundation office closed
    • 23rd of February 2018 Scholar Presentation Ceremony, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance
    • 15th & 16th of March 2018 New York Scholar’s Symposium
    • May 2018 Applications for the 2019 John Monash Scholarships open
    • 1 August 2018 Applications for the 2019 John Monash Scholarships close

    Picture: Professor Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO receiving her Life Membership from Foundation Chairman, Ms Jillian Segal AM at the Scholar Announcement Ceremony on November 30

    From the Field: Dr Kate Mitchell

    This section of our Newsletter features Alumni reporting from the field with stories of their exploits and enterprises after study and scholarships have finished.  This edition’s ‘From the Field’ feature is 2013 John Monash Scholar, Dr Kate Mitchell (pictured below).

    In August 2017, I moved to Canberra to commence my new role as a Principal Research Officer to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Based at Parliament House and comprised of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the role of the Committee is to examine all proposed Australian laws for compatibility with international human rights law. As a member of the Committee’s secretariat, I work with a small team to advise Committee members about the international human rights implications of proposed laws, and otherwise support the Committee’s work.  Before I moved to Canberra, I worked for a Federal Court Judge in Sydney followed by a six-  month stint in Paris for an international law firm   specialising in public international law and     international arbitration.

     The John Monash scholarship generously   supported my DPhil in Law studies in Oxford from   2013-2016, where my research focussed on the   right of States to legislate public welfare and   human rights reform in light of their (often   competing) obligations to protect foreign   investment. The task of undertaking a doctorate was an intellectually rigorous one, requiring me to consider the law through a wide lens and equipping me with skills I now employ every day in advising the Committee on human rights.  

     Admittedly, the DPhil sometimes felt like trying to connect fragments of a disjointed puzzle: initially very scattered with lots of blank spaces, trial and error, moments of sheepishness upon realising that I was assembling the puzzle upside down and had dropped half of the pieces under the couch, and the burst of satisfaction when the fragments finally start to connect.  Along the way, the community of John Monash Scholars that I was fortunate enough to befriend throughout my studies provided a constant source of support, encouragement, and friendship. More broadly, the opportunity to undertake my studies as a John Monash Scholar has given me confidence to be less risk-averse with my career choices, to follow my gut instinct, and pursue things that I am passionate about. I am not sure I would have been able to traverse the long and frequently unwieldy doctoral pathway (not to mention the move back to Australia after several years living overseas) without the support of the John Monash family. The community of young Australians that proudly call themselves John Monash Scholars is so diverse and they have exposed me to a breadth and depth of different disciplines and issues; I am constantly inspired by my fellow scholars and it is a privilege to be part of this community.

    From the Start: Brett Parkinson  

    ‘From the Start’ is our newsletter piece that features a regular entry from a John Monash Scholar on the first part of their journey abroad since being awarded their Scholarship. 2017 John Monash Scholar Brett Parkinson (Pictured below with Theo Anderson of Woodside Energy) arrived at Imperial College in London in October to begin his DPhil in Engineering Science. Read on for Brett’s first impressions of Imperial College.

    For years I’ve seen friend after friend pack their bags and move to the United Kingdom (or ‘the Motherland’ as they joke) to undertake a two-year stint of ‘the London life’. I always thought to myself, why would you move to UK, isn’t their weather horribly cold and constantly raining? This was also at a time when never in my wildest dreams would I have believed someone if they told me I’d be doing a PhD at Imperial College London. But here I am, a few years later conversing with brilliant scientific minds about blue-sky game-changer energy technologies at one of the top technical institutes in the world, all thanks to John Monash Foundation and Woodside Energy; and I have to say, apart from the weather, London doesn’t disappoint.

     It got off to a rocky start after arriving in Heathrow from a 2-month backpacking expedition through Central America and the airline losing my bag. I was a walking laugh, a freshly tanned 6-foot-3 Australian wearing sandals, shorts and singlet with a camera strap over his shoulder on the London tube. But after that (and purchasing some warmer clothes), I got right down to work and settling into life in the UK. The chemical engineering department at ICL doesn’t muck around, and within the first week I was knee deep in safety inductions, experimental talks and theoretical debates about the future of the energy landscape. I’m now approaching the end of month two and I’ve finished constructing an experimental rig to handle 1000-degree molten salts and am presenting at a national hydrogen research conference in Scotland in early December. If this is any indication of the pace of the next 3 years, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

    Outside of the university walls, I’ve been lucky enough to be reunited with my beautiful partner Samar who had been here for 6 months before my arrival. We’ve found a nice place in Brixton together and are enjoying the never-ending string of events, gigs and general nightlife that only a city like London and a place like Brixton can offer.  I don’t know where the next 3 years will take us, or what is lying around the corner, but I’m excited for what this opportunity holds. But for now, I’m going to have to do my best to settle indoors, Winter is coming.

    John Monash Scholars in the News

    Dr Catherine Stubberfield

    The Closure of Manus Detention Centre

     Dr Catherine Stubberfield is a 2010 John Monash Scholar and an External Relations Officer for the UNHCR. Catherine has been at the forefront of the controversy around the closure of Manus Detention Centre. In an interview with the ABC Catherine said that “Care and genuine dialogue is what is needed”.

    Listen to Catherine’s full interview here

     Picture: courtesy of the Guardian 



     Sarah Lux-Lee  

    Motherhood, Mindr and TEDx Talks

    Sarah Lux-Lee is the founder of Mindr, an app designed to make meet ups, lectures and workshops that are baby friendly. Earlier in December, Sarah was awarded third prize in the JCA Jumpstart  competition, the prize of $5000 will go toward expanding her work with Mindr.  

    Read Sarah’s full TEDx Talk here, footage of the talk will be made available once published by TEDx. Further information on the announcement of the JCA Jumpstart Competition winners are available here. 

    Picture: Sarah at The ‘Work-Baby Balance with Lauren Smith Brody’ Mindr event, photography by Mia Oh Photography

    Dr James Daniell 

    What is the cost of a Natural Disaster?

    2009 Dr James Daniell is the Senior Risk Modeller for the Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM), a Senior Disaster Analyst at the World Bank and a Lecturer and Doctoral Supervisor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. James was a guest on Al Jazeera News, brought on to discuss how countries can cope with the costs of a natural disaster. The interview was held in light of Hurricane Harvey and its devastating effects across Mexico. 

    For James’ full interview click here


    Picture: James during his interview with Aljazeera News. Picture courtesy of 


    The 2018 John Monash Scholars

    Over 300 applications submitted, 100 state panel interviews, 40 national panel interviews – this is the journey that the Foundation undertakes to find our Scholars. We are delighted to introduce the 18 new Scholars announced for 2018!


    Nicola Bilton 

    2018 BHP John Monash Scholar


     Nicola has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Laser physics and Technology from the University of Adelaide and was awarded the University Medal. At Imperial College she will work on the development of a cutting-edge quantum accelerometer, a component of next generation navigational systems. She intends to return to her current employer, Defence Science and Technology Group, to use quantum sensing technologies in next generation technology.

     Amy Burton

    2018 Zelman Cowen John Monash Scholar


    Amy has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Bachelor of Laws with Honours from Monash University. She works at Salvos Legal Humanitarian and was recently announced as the 2017 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year at the Women in Law Awards. At Berkeley she will research the growing use of social enterprise law firms to improve access to justice for individuals who are not eligible for legal aid but cannot afford a private lawyer. Amy then plans to develop and launch a similar program in Australia, which she hopes will also increase employment opportunities for graduate lawyers who aspire to work in humanitarian law.

    James Campbell

    2018 Victorian Government John Monash Scholar


    James has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws with Honours from Monash University and was awarded the University Medal and the Supreme Court Prize for the highest achieving Law student. He is a lawyer at King & Wood Mallesons, Melbourne. At Berkeley James will specialise in community legal practice and policy development. He will examine how the Australian community legal sector can harness new technologies to provide access to justice for Australians most in need. James has significant leadership experience as Convenor of the LGBTI organisation, Minus18.

     Ryan Carters 

    2018 Roth/Segal Harvard John Monash Scholar


    Ryan was an award winning professional cricketer who left the sport to focus on his Economics degree at the University of Sydney and leadership of the charity he founded, Batting for Change. This charity supports educational opportunities for young women living in poverty in the developing, cricket playing world. Ryan hopes postgraduate study will give him the skills and experience to consolidate a career in policy and public service. He intends to address inequality, including economic growth and gender equity. Ryan is particularly committed to addressing critical issues of domestic violence, the gender pay gap, the paucity of women in leadership and inadequate childcare.

    Emma Dale

    2018 Chairman’s Circle John Monash Scholar


    Emma has a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation with Honours and a University Medal from Griffith University. After working with endangered Red Pandas in Nepal, Emma founded the Red Panda Trust, a conservation venture. She then worked as an ecologist for the Zoological Society of London in Mongolia for fourteen months. At Oxford she will study the behavioural ecology of carnivores with a focus on conservation and preservation. Emma plans to return to Australia to lead research initiatives to protect Australia’s carnivores, including the Tasmanian Devil and Spotted-tail Quolls. These native Australian animals play a vital role in Australia’s food chains and their extinction would unbalance supporting populations with serious implications for Australian ecology.

    Felix Donovan 

    2018 Roden Cutler John Monash Scholar


    Felix has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and the University Medal in Government from the University of Sydney. While at university Felix coordinated the academic assistance program at Matraville High School and was a Director of Communications for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit. He works in the NSW State Department of Education as the Manager of Data and Insight, developing evidence-based early childhood education policy. His study at the London School of Economics will enable him to lead education policy in the future.


    Amy Dennison
    2018 Woodside John Monash Scholar


    Amy has a Bachelor of Engineering with first class Honours, a University Medal and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales. She has a Master of Laws with a University Medal from the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee, UK. She is Director Legislation and Policy in the Northern Territory Government and a visiting Lecturer at Charles Darwin University Law School. Amy will specialise in energy and environmental policy to contribute to the development and implementation of policy and regulation in the Northern Territory.


    Jordan English

    2018 Zelman Cowen John Monash Scholar


    Jordan has a Bachelor of Laws with first class Honours and the University Medal in Law and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Queensland. He is currently an Associate to Justice Edelman of the High Court of Australia. He has experience and interest in anti-bribery, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws. As an Indigenous Australian, Jordan is committed to increasing Indigenous representation in the law, being a role model for other Indigenous Australians and positively influencing the perspectives of non-Indigenous Australians.


    Steven Ettema

    2018 Woodside John Monash Scholar


    Steven has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with first class Honours from the University of Queensland. He works as a numerical modeler and coastal engineer at BMT Group (an engineering science and technology consultancy), providing engineering and scientific services on a range of projects. This has included modeling a wide variety of coastal systems to improve environmental outcomes, such as developing numerical models for how turtle hatchlings interact with the environment. Steven’s research at Oxford will focus on improvements to tidal and wind turbines by applying principles used in the aerospace industry. Steven aims to inform energy policy and further develop renewable energy technologies in Australia.

    Major Nathan Johnson

    2018 Pratt Foundation Commemorative Defence AAA John Monash Scholar


    Nathan is a military officer with a Bachelor of Science from the University of New South Wales and Master of Science in Military Electrical Systems Engineering from Cranfield University, UK. Nathan served in Special Operations Command in Afghanistan, lead multinational United Nations forces in South Sudan and provided technical support to the Australian Defence Force’s counter terrorism unit in Sydney. He is Project Manager for Army Headquarters in Canberra, leading a project to procure new Electronic Warfare technology for the Army. Nathan will research Cyber security as part of his PhD and anticipates a future leading the technical development of Cyber and Electronic technology for the Army.

    Marianne Haines 

    2018 Origin Foundation John Monash Scholar


    Marianne has a Bachelor of Biological Science majoring in Microbiology and Biochemistry from La Trobe University. She is completing her Honours year. At the University of Calgary, she will specialise in energy bioengineering and photobioreactor systems. Her particular focus will be on developing biotechnology that harnesses and engineers micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae to develop a new source of sustainable energy. Marianne plans to work at the intersection of industry and academia.

    Louis Klee

    2018 Australian Cultural John Monash Scholar


    Louis has a Bachelor of Philosophy with Honours from the Australian National University, a Master of Fine Art in Writing for Performance from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Philosophy from Cambridge University. He is an established playwright, poet and critic. At Cambridge he will specialise in the prose fiction of W.G Sebald. After the completion of his postgraduate study, Louis will contribute to Australian cultural life through an academic career and a life of public writing and criticism

    Sonia Loudon 

    2018 Helen & Michael Gannon John Monash Scholar


    Sonia has a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Science from the Australian National University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching from the University of Melbourne. She is a Leading Teacher and Head of Science in a multi-campus secondary school in Epping, Victoria. She founded Boundless, a social enterprise that provides outer suburban and regional students with access to professional work experience placements. Her studies will help her develop a model for effective education in disadvantaged communities. Sonia’s goal is to reverse the widening inequality and segregation in the Australian school system.


    Heather Muir

    2018 Anzac Centenary John Monash Scholar


    Heather has a Bachelor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with Honours from the University of Queensland and graduated as Valedictorian. She has worked in engineering consulting, STEM education research and is currently doing an MPhil at the University of Cambridge. She will undertake her PhD at the Cambridge Centre for Scientific Computing, which is developing world leading computational methodologies across the sciences and collaborations between industry and research. Heather is also particularly committed to developing science teaching in Australia.

    Brighid Sammon

    2018 Susan & Isaac Wakil John Monash Scholar


    Brighid has a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning with Honours from RMIT University. She is a Senior Urban Planner at Hansen Partnership and 2017 Australian Young Planner of the Year. Her research will focus on effective, equitable, proactive and innovative housing. She hopes to impact the way Australians approach planning and design to contribute to a sustainable housing sector.

     Ahmad Shah Idil

    2018 Australian Universities’ John Monash Scholar


    Ahmad has a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Linguistics from the University of New South Wales. He is currently a biomedical engineer with University College London, where he is designing the world’s first optogenetic cortical implant for the treatment of focal epilepsy. Prior to this, he worked with Bionic Vision Australia, the $50 million Australian research consortium developing a bionic eye. Through his PhD research Ahmad will continue to develop neural implant technologies to treat neurological medical conditions.


    Dr Kevin Tan

    2018 Susan & Isaac Wakil John Monash Scholar


    Kevin completed his medical degree and holds an MBBS (Hons)/BMedSc from the University of Melbourne. He was also recently awarded a Master of Public Health through the University of Sydney, and spent a semester at Lund University, Sweden. He currently works as an advanced trainee and Chief Radiation Oncology Registrar at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the largest cancer hospital in Australia. During his training, Kevin developed an interest in cancer survivorship. While over 1 million Australians are living with or beyond their cancer diagnosis, many survivors continue to face unmet needs. These include elderly patients and long term survivors of childhood malignancies. At Copenhagen, Kevin will combine his medical knowledge with skills in economics, policy, innovation and design to tackle this public health challenge.


    William Witheridge 

    2018 Commonwealth Bank of Australia John Monash Scholar


    Will holds a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University. He works for the OECD Chief Economist conducting research on global economic challenges and policy recommendations for the G20. He was previously an economic policy adviser in the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, including for Australia’s G20 Presidency in 2014. He will undertake a PhD in Economics with a special interest in macroeconomic policy. Will is passionate about improving Australian economic policy particularly through taxation reform and aims to be a senior economic adviser to Government.

    More On Our John Monash Scholars…

    A busy few months for Professor Mark Dawson on his induction as a new Fellow of the Melbourne Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and winning the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia’s Metcalf Prize – congratulations Mark! Dr Sarah Milne is on a research team that has been awarded an Australian Research Discovery Grant for their project looking at nature-society transformations in mainland Southeast Asia. Finalist for the NSW Visual Arts Emerging Scholarship, Fernando do Campo had his art work featured at Artspace in Wooloomooloo.  Shevaun Wright has her art featured as a part of the ‘Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Art and Feminism’ Exhibition at ACCA (showing until the 23rd of March). Alexandra Readhead has been named in the Global Tax Top 50 for 2017! Click here to read Alexandra’s profile in the international Tax Review. Brett Parkison won 1st place for a 3 minute thesis competition and presented on Hydrogen Production at the H2FC Supergen Conference in St Andrews, Scotland. We are always delighted by the camaraderie and friendships formed by our Scholar community, who support each other all over the world: our UK based Scholars caught up for their Christmas catch up in Oxford on the 10th of December and several of our New York based Scholars also had their annual Christmas get together on the 16th of December.

    We love to hear your news. Please do let us know what you are doing and where you are in the world. 

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    General Sir John Monash Foundation

    Ground Floor, Bennelong House, 9 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC,  3000,  Australia

  • Spring 2017 Newsletter


    From the desk of CEO, Annemarie Rolls

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to our Spring Newsletter. This past quarter has felt like a long winter but we have not had time to dwell on the cold with our days being action packed as we focused on the all-important scholarship application process (applications close on 1st August each year) and have been entrenched in the first round of interviews which take us to all States and Territories. It is the most exciting and challenging time as we learn about so many extraordinary people doing such interesting and important things with their lives.

    The selection part of the journey is always the hardest and we are very grateful to the reviewers and panelists, who support this process. There are close to one hundred among this unseen army of volunteers, all of whom are busy, esteemed professionals from all sectors. We thank you for your generosity and wisdom. 

    As you will see from the following stories our scholars and alumni continue to delight and astound us with their work and achievements and we have reported on just a few. We hope you enjoy reading their news. We look forward to introducing you to the new cohort of scholars who will be announced at the end of November in the December newsletter. For those of our friends in the Southern Hemisphere enjoy the Spring and take a moment to smell the jonquils and to those of you in the North I hope you have made the most of summer and that your Autumn/Fall is colourful.

    We welcome any story ideas and feedback about the newsletter and look forward to staying in touch.

    Warm regards,


    Update From The Team at the General Sir John Monash Foundation

    The Team at the General Sir John Monash Foundation is pleased to announce that Alexandra Coelli started at the Foundation in mid July. Alexandra fills the role of Executive Assistant and Administration Officer which means apart from providing executive support she keeps the office functioning smoothly, is across events, databases, communications regarding scholars must know items and social media including website updates.

    We are so pleased to now have a great team fully operational with Alexandra, Deborah Rechter in place as Scholars and Project Manager and Halyer Rayner our Finance and Operations Manager. We are fortunate that Dr. Judith Landsberg continues to support us one day per week until the completion of the 2018 Scholars selection process. Apart from Halyer who works Monday to Thursday, we are all full time and hope you won’t hesitate to make contact whenever you need to.

    Pictured (from left to right) Dr. Deborah Rechter, Ms. Alexandra Coelli, Ms. Annemarie Rolls and Mr. Halyer Rayner at the 2017 John Monash Oration

    The 2017 John Monash Oration 
    The annual John Monash Oration took place on the 28th of August. The event was graciously sponsored and hosted by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in their beautiful Colonial Theatre, Sydney. The topic of the evening was: Leadership in Science – how it effects jobs of the future and energy security in Australia. We were delighted that the Chief Australian Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO was our keynote speaker for this year’s event, and our very own Lara Olsen (2004 John Monash Scholar) gave the response. Both Dr Finkel and Lara spoke wonderfully, and gave insightful points on the need for strong leadership, reminiscent of John Monash himself, to pave the way for the future

    of Australia’s energy sector. To read Dr Finkel’s full keynote speech click here. Film footage of the 2017 Oration will be available shortly here!   

    Pictured (from left to right) Ms. Lara Olsen, Dr Alan Finkel AO & Ms. Kelly Bayer Rosmarin during the Q&A at the 2017 John Monash Oration

     Diary Dates 

    • August 31st to October 3rd State Selection Panels
    • October 16th and 17th National Selection Panels
    • November 14th General Sir John Monash Foundation AGM 
    • 30 November 2017 Scholarship Announcement Ceremony, Sydney Opera House
    • February 2018 Scholar Presentation Ceremony, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance
    • March 2018 New York Scholar’s Symposium

    From the field: May Samali, John Monash Scholar & Impact Investor. 

    This section of our Newsletter features Alumni reporting in from the field with stories of their exploits and enterprises after study has been completed. May Samali (pictured below) is a 2014 John Monash Scholar and completed her Master in Public Policy at Harvard, focusing on financing Social Enterprises. May now works as an associate at the Urban Innovation Fund, an exciting venture capital firm supporting entrepreneurs solving challenges faced by urban communities. Read on for more on May’s journey from Harvard to the Urban Innovation Fund below.

    I often used to ask myself: “What would it look like to work with socially-minded entrepreneurs?” This curiosity led me to the Harvard Kennedy School, where I immersed myself in the world of tech policy, entrepreneurship and social impact. From organizing the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference to writing a thesis on financing social enterprises, I embraced every opportunity to better understand how startups could transform cities, communities and economies.


    Along the way, I stumbled upon an urban ventures accelerator called Tumml. “What in the world is ‘Tumml’?” I remember asking myself. A quick Google search revealed Tumml is a Yiddish word meaning ‘shakeup’ (and its entrepreneurs are shaking up city living!). I ended up interning there during my summer, and after graduating in 2016, I moved to San Francisco to run the organization. My first project was to help our clean energy portfolio companies with commercializing technologies they’d developed in the lab. 


    As serendipity would have it, the founders of Tumml recently launched the Urban Innovation Fund and asked me to join this exciting new chapter. As a newly established venture capital firm, we provide seed capital and regulatory support to entrepreneurs creating scalable solutions to tough urban challenges. I’ve had the opportunity to lead investments in companies ranging from a mobile election voting platform using blockchain technology to a smart water management system for commercial and industrial buildings. More than 60% of the companies we’ve supported have a woman or person of colour on the founding team.


    Building a fund from the ground up has been a fantastic adventure. There’s no “typical day” in the office, but I spend most weeks meeting with new companies and investors, conducting market research and customer interviews, judging startup pitch competitions, and helping our nine portfolio companies with hiring and other strategic questions. I’m constantly inspired by the energy, innovation and ingenuity of startup founders who are striving to solve entrenched problems. I look forward to continuing to become a more effective investor, mentor, and advisor to socially-minded entrepreneurs – both in the US and at home in Australia. I’m also passionate about improving the funding ecosystem for underserved and marginalized entrepreneurs across both countries.


    I am extremely grateful to the John Monash Foundation for its support over the years. When I left sunny Sydney for Boston in 2014, I didn’t fully appreciate that life would never be the same again. The Foundation has provided not just financial help, but a family. From Claudia Newman-Martin’s 2013 email proclaiming “YOU MUST DO THE MPP!”, to Steph Pow’s warmth during Boston winters, to Anna Rakoczy’s advice on pivoting from law to entrepreneurship, to Jill Kilby and Sarah Lux-Lee’s wisdom on life and love, Monash siblings have offered insight and encouragement every step of the way. Thank you to everyone at the Foundation – the Board, the management team, the interviewing panels, and past and present scholars. The Monash Scholarship truly changed my life.

    Find out more about May and her work at the Urban Innovation Fund here

    From the start: A John Monash Scholar’s first week abroad  

    September marks an exciting time for many of our 2017 John Monash Scholars, as most of them commence the first semester of their postgraduate studies abroad. 2017 John Monash Scholar Damon Binder arrived at Princeton University on the 6th of September to begin his PhD in Theoretical Physics. Read on to hear Damon’s experience of his very first week at Princeton. 

    I arrived in Princeton at midnight. Was I excited? Yes. Was I sleep-deprived? Also yes. Not only had I spent the last 24 hours traveling, but I had spent the last four of those hours navigating the New York public transport system with 30 kilograms of luggage. Having arrived on campus, I immediately proceeded to get lost. Princeton is very beautiful – a maze of neo-gothic architecture and vibrant green forest – and was covered in fog. Admittedly after an hour of wandering this beauty began to wear a little thin, and when I final stumbled into my new room at the Old Graduate College, I immediately fell asleep.

    My first week at Princeton has been both very exciting, but also daunting. I have had to complete tax forms, immigration forms, and a lab safety course, open bank accounts, change phone numbers, and receive immunizations. I have had to learn how health insurance, mail delivery, course enrolment and the meal plan works. I am still a little paranoid that I have forgotten something important.

    I am one of 664 new graduate students at Princeton. They are from all over the world, and from all sorts of academic disciplines. I have yet to meet any other Australians; I think I am the only one in first year. For some reason the American students are very curious about our dangerous Australian spiders – I explained why they should be more afraid of the snakes, jellyfish, crocodiles and dropbears.

    I have now been at Princeton a week, and classes are beginning. But, as important as passing the preliminary exams is, the real purpose of a PhD is the research. I had my first meeting with a potential supervisor yesterday, and am now the proud owner of a soon-to-be-read stack of papers on numeric bootstrapping methods in conformal field theory. Will this be the beginnings of a PhD thesis? I don’t know, but hopefully sometime in the next five years I will find out.

    Damon is picture above (left) with General Sir John Monash Foundation Chairman’s circle member, John Allpass FCA, FCPA, FAICD at the 2016 Announcement Ceremony of the 2017 Scholars

    John Monash Scholars in the News

    John Monash Scholars receive great media coverage and produce a large number of publications, work and research which the Foundation communicates to its followers via the following channels: our WebsiteLinkedInFacebookTwitter and YouTube. We encourage you to follow us on these platforms so you can keep up with their prolific work and achievements.

    In case you have missed it, here are just a few highlights from the last quarter. Click on the links or images to read full articles or watch content.

    Dr Phoebe Williams

    This is not Natural Selection

    Dr Phoebe Williams wrote an article in July discussing that malnutrition is responsible for approximately one-third of the admissions to Kenyan hospitals and once a child is malnourished, they are more likely to die from this than any other cause. However, the response to the famine in East Africa shows that our luxurious lifestyles in Australia have stopped us from exercising empathy. Read Phoebe’s powerful article, “This is Not Natural Selection” here.

    Phoebe is a 2015 John Monash Scholar and Paedeatric doctor at Sydney Children’s Hospital. She in undertaking her DPhil at Oxford whilst completing her research in Kenya through a field unit.

    Picture:  Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP/Getty Images, featured as a part of Phoebe’s article published via the Guardian

    Macushla Robinson

    Memory is a Tough place

    John Monash Scholar, Macushla Robinson’s Art exhibition “Memory is a tough place” ran from the 29th of July until the 3rd of September at the Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Gallery in New York.

    Macushla, recipient of the 2015 Australian Cultural John Monash Scholarship, has a BVA (Visual Arts) and a BA (Philosophy / Art Theory) from ANU, and 1st Class Honours and the University Medal from her Honours year completed at the University of Sydney.  She was Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and has worked on projects including the launch of the John Kaldor Family Gallery and Francis Bacon: Five Decades.  She is on the directorial and editorial boards of Runway Australian Experimental Art, and undertook a residency in Beijing. Macushla is a 2017 alumna of the Liberal Studies department at the New School, New York.

    “Memory is  Tough Place” features photographs and related works from the New School Art Collection, with a focus on race and Social Justice.

    You can read more on Macushla’s exhibition here

    Pictured: a photograph of a section of Macushla’s exhibition at the Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Gallery in New York


    Lara Olsen

    All-Energy Australia Conference

    2004 John Monash Scholar, Lara Olsen will be featured as a speaker at the All-Energy Australia Conference. The conference features a line up of more than 120 world-class speakers paving the way for the exhibition of the future of clean and renewable energy in Australia.

    Lara, who is the head of business Development for Tesla, Asia Pacific Region, will be one of the speakers discussing the future of energy storage trends.

    Read more about the All-Energy Australia Conference Agenda here. The conference is free to attend and will take place on October 11-12 at the Melbourne Convention Centre. 

    Lara is picture above, right speaking at the 2017 John Monash Oration


     Laura Grant  
    The 40 Hour Backpack Challenge

    Laura Grant (John Monash Scholar) is the Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor for World Vision. Laura was featured in SBS news discussing World Visions new project “the Forty Hour Backpack Challenge”. Laura said the new project aims to engage Australian youth with compassion and understanding for the experience of a young refugee. Laura said that they had hopes for the program to be as successful as the long running 40 Hour Famine has been in past years in terms of raising public awareness. 

    The 40 hour backpack challenge contains 12 separate challenges that aim to emulate the experience of a refugee on a small scale. The challenges were set to be completed from 8pm Friday the 1st of September through to 12pm Sunday the 3rd of September. World Vision said that they hope to raise 4.6 million dollars to benefit programs in East Africa and the Middle East from the Challenge. When asked about the participation for the event, Laura said that the sign up rate was through the roof. We look forward to hearing the total funds raised from the Challenge. 

    Read more about the incredible work being undertaken by Laura and the team at World Vision here or check out #40hourfamine for photos from this years participants.

    —Picture above from SBS News; Globally more than 65.1 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, most of them are children

    Bridget Vincent

    Spirit of Australia Address

    2006 John Monash Scholar, Bridget Vincent gave an address at the Annual General Sir John Monash Commemorative Service, hosted by the Spirit of Australia Foundation on the 11th of August and held at Parliament House in Melbourne. Bridget discusses Monash’s possession of “real creative originality” in his life and endeavours.

    You can watch Bridget’s full speech at the Spirit of Australia event here

    — Pictured (right) is Bridget giving her address at the Commemorative service on the 11th of August. Picture courtesy of Spirit of Australia Foundation

    Hannah Barber

    The Power of Strong Foundations

    2017 John Monash Scholar, Hannah Barber wrote an article titled “the power of strong foundations”. In the article Hannah discusses the importance of Early Childhood Education.

    Hannah believes that “If we continue to see childcare as a cost rather than an investment, we risk neglecting one of the greatest gifts we can provide to our children and the broader community”. Hannah is an early childhood education advocate , qualified early childhood educator at Gowrie Victoria and in August commenced her Master of Education (Human Development and Psychology) at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    Read Hannah’s article here.

    Picture (above, right) Hannah Barber, 2017 John Monash Scholar

    Kate Griffiths

    Australia’s Post Finkel Energy Future

    2012 John Monash Scholar and Grattan Institute Associate, Kate Griffiths was interviewed in a Grattan Institute Podcast in July.

    The podcast features a discussion in response to Dr Alan Finkel ‘s review into the security of the National Electricity market. The COAG Energy Council of State and Federal Energy Ministers met after the review was released and undertook a discussion of the review. In the Podcast Kate discusses what the COAG agreed upon, what was missing and what are the next steps?

    Listen to Kate’s interview here or read Dr Alan Finkel AO’s review here. 

    Picture (above, right) Kate Griffiths during the recording of the Grattan Institute podcast

    More On Our John Monash Scholars…

    The majority of the 2017 Scholars have now commenced their postgraduate studies abroad. Following are some updates on where scholars are and what they are doing.  Miranda Gronow worked on an excavation of Melbourne’s 19th Century Red Light District up until leaving for Oxford to start her MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Bridget Hickey has left for Columbia University, where she is undertaking a Master of Science, Majoring in Journalism. Dr Gemma Sharp has gained international recognition for her fascinating study into the rising numbers of women undertaking labiaplasty surgeries. Alexandra Phelan continues her research in Global Health Law at Georgetown University, Alexandra was interviewed in July by the ABC on the outbreak of Plague in New Mexico. Dr Tom Cundy was interviewed in August for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons on the future of hospital identification and clinical care. Dr Martin Seveniratne is 6 months into his journey at Stanford and has been appointed Digital Health Fellow of Stanford Medicine.

    It has been a busy time for weddings amongst the John Monash Scholar Community! Lau Ling San married partner Jerome and Joe Gattos married his partner Elizabeth in July. We wish them all well. Anna Rakoczy was featured in “Destination Entrepreneur: five women, five cities” for her Home Cooking program.  Madeline Gleeson participated in the Byron Bay Writers Festival through her work with Offshore:Behind the Wire. Jodi Gardner and her partner Seb welcomed baby number three into the family in July, congratulations Jodi, Seb and all the family

    We love to hear your news. Please do let us know what you are doing and where you are in the world. 



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    General Sir John Monash Foundation

    Ground Floor, Bennelong House, 9 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC,  3000,  Australia



  • June 2017


    From the desk of CEO, Annemarie Rolls
    Dear Friends,
    Welcome to our Winter Newsletter.
    The first half of the year has been a busy new chapter for the Foundation. We awarded 20 scholarships, I was appointed as CEO in February, Dr Deborah Rechter joined us as Scholarships and Projects Manager in May, and our Universities Consortium has grown to 18, with ANU coming on board as our newest member.
    We are concentrating on developing our Alumni Community Strategy and continued planning for growth and consolidation of our fundraising. Our extraordinary scholars continue to inspire us and we are looking forward to uncovering new talent with the applications for 2018 underway.
    Please enjoy the following news from around the world as John Monash Scholars continue to achieve great things in many fields of endeavour. As always, we are so proud of our scholars and I feel privileged to lead the team that supports them.
    We have started a regular column – ‘From the field …’ through which you will hear first hand stories of scholars such as our inaugural piece from Anna Rakoczy which I am sure you will enjoy.
    We welcome any story ideas and feedback about the newsletter and look forward to staying in touch.
    Warm regards,

    Presenting the 2017 John Monash Scholars
    The 2017 Presentation Ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance was a milestone event with the largest number of scholarships in any one year being awarded to 20 Scholars. We are proud of this extraordinary cohort who are a fine example of the diversity of our scholars: 6 medical doctors, three of them paediatricians, 5 engineers working with energy technologies, 5 scientists, a cosmologist, marine biologist, botanist, physicist, artist, archaeologist and early childhood educator. They represent all six States and the ACT, have studied at 13 different Australian Universities and plan to study at 7 universities overseas.

    The Governor General, His Excellency, the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Patron-in-Chief of the Foundation was the guest of honour and presented the scholarships.

    Tea with the Governor 

    We had a gracious morning with Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau AM recently and a tour of Government House by her husband, Mr Anthony Howard.   Present were many friends of the Foundation, Board members and Scholars. Of note were 2017 scholars, Dr Garang Dut and Miranda Gronow, an archaeologist who had the previous day been in her work clothes excavating an historical cesspit underneath the city streets. She was intrigued by Mr Howard’s tales of treasure stored beneath the Government House Ballroom. Miranda and Garang are getting ready to leave for their studies at Oxford and Harvard. We wish them well.
    —Pictured (from left to right) Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, 2017 Scholar Miranda Gronow, 2012 Scholar Iwan Walters, and 2017 Scholar Dr Garang Dut.

    Inaugural Policy Forum
    Challenging Ideas: Resource Development and Society
    The John Monash Foundation in partnership with American Australian Association recently held a Policy Forum simultaneously in Perth and New York to explore issue;s around Resource Management and Society. This event was the first of what we plan will be many alumni events as part of a new Alumni Strategy. We learned a great deal in the process which will be useful to guide future ventures.
    The Forum was streamed live on JMF social media and is now available on our YouTube Channel. John Monash Scholars Dr Tom Hanna, Dr Jacqui Baker, Alexa Morcombe, and Huw Pohlner participated in discussion which was interesting and lively. Useful contributions were made from AAA Scholars in New York. The Forum was moderated by Dr Gordon Flake from the US Asia Centre in Perth and John Berry, former Ambassador and President of the AAA in New York.
    We thank everyone involved, participants, guests and our colleagues at the AAA. We look forward to many more collaborations. A special acknowledgement and thank you to PwC who generously provided the venue in both Perth and New York. Being able to access their premises and technology on both sides of the world made an enormous difference with the technology working perfectly.
    Stay tuned for forthcoming events.

     Diary Dates 
    • Applications for 2018 John Monash Scholarships are now open and close 1 August 2017. Please see website for selection panel dates in your state.
    • 29 June 2017 Sydney Scholars’ meet up with CEO Annemarie Rolls
    • 28 August 2017 John Monash Foundation Oration, hosted by Commonwealth Bank of Australia
    • 30 November 2017 Announcement Ceremony, Sydney Opera House
    • April 2018 New York Scholar’s Symposium


    From the field: Anna Rakoczy (John Monash Scholar 2011)  
    This new section of our Newsletter features Alumni reporting in from the field with stories of their exploits and enterprises after study and scholarships have finished. Anna Rakoczy is the co-founder of Homemade Cooking, which educates and empowers people to better health and nutrition. Here she tells the story of her transition from award winning Lawyer to social impact entrepreneur.
    My Monash Scholarship is the Number 1 biggest thing that allowed me to make this transition – and I will be grateful for the rest of my life for the opportunity it provided! When I moved to the States to study a Masters in Law at UC Berkeley, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something with a social impact and find my true passion.
    I took a course in Social Entrepreneurship and learnt about business for social good and I was hooked! When I had an opportunity to study a Masters at Stanford the following year in 2013, I took as many courses as I could in the business school, and met my Co-Founder, a Stanford MD / MBA, and together we started working on an easy, joyful & sustainable way to empower people to eat better to achieve their ideal weight & health – and so Homemade Cooking was born! The following year we were accepted into Stanford’s most competitive & rigorous start-up incubator, Start X (we were the only all-female team in our group), and subsequently raised a round of funding from Sillicon Valley Investors.
    Nearly 5 years later, Homemade Cooking is a fully online program that empowers our members to take back control of their health – and their weight – with a new way of cooking & eating that’s easy, fast & fun. So far, we have empowered our Members to cook over 60,000 meals, to lose tens of thousands of pounds, and have reversed high blood sugars, blood pressure & cholesterol.
    Without the Monash Scholarship, I could never have gotten here – I could never have taken that first step, to branch out of my career in law, come study in the United States, and discover this path that changed my life forever. Furthermore, support from the Monash Scholars Community is amazing – everyone from the people on the selection committees, to the board of directors, to the team running the show, and of course the scholars themselves truly embody a spirit of innovation, inclusivity and passion.
    Right now Homemade Cooking serves members across the United States, and since we are fully online, we can serve anybody around the world – and that is so exciting. I can’t wait to bring the model to Australia, because Australia is close behind the United States in suffering from lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure & cholesterol. And Homemade Cooking is a simple proven solution – we have worked with Stanford Hospitals and 7 medical clinics have referred patients to us.
    Find out more about Anna and Homemade Cooking here.

    John Monash Scholars in the News

    John Monash Scholars receive great media coverage and produce a large number of publications, work and research which the Foundation communicates to its followers via the following channels: our Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We encourage you to follow us on these platforms so you can keep up with their prolific work and achievements.
    In case you have missed it, here are some highlights. Click on the links or images to read full articles or watch content. 
    Professor Mark Dawson

    Medical breakthrough


    Professor Mark Dawson and Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson have developed a simple blood test that could eliminate the need for invasive and costly bone marrow and lymph node biopsies for people with blood cancers. You can read more about their collaboration and implications of their incredible work here.
    In May Professor Dawson was also named as one of 41 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) International Research Scholars. The scholarship recognises Prof Dawson as a leading early-career scientist working outside of the G7 group of countries.

    Shevaun Wright
    On exhibition
    Campbelltown Arts Centre presents ‘looking at me through you,’ a socially-charged exhibition featuring twelve Australian artists, including John Monash Scholar Shevaun Wright. The exhibition explores the cultural identity in the rapidly changing social landscape of Campbelltown and Western Sydney and runs from 27 May – 23 July 2017.
    You can watch interviews with Shevaun and other artists featured in the exhibition here.

    Madeline Gleeson
    Literary prize winner
    Congratulations to John Monash Scholar Madeline Gleeson on receiving the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards Prize for Non-fiction for her book Offshore: Behind the wire on Manus and Nauru – an amazing achievement.
    Pictured here with fellow Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards winners (from left to right) Madeline Gleeson, Leah Purcell, Randa Abdel-Fattah, and Maxine Beneba Clarke

    Dr Martin Seneviratne  
    CancerAid App coup
    Dr Martin Seneviratne along with Dr Nikhil Pooviar, Dr Raghav Murali-Ganesh had a starring role in the series three premiere of Shark Tank Australia.
    The trio were pitching for investment in their CancerAid App which provides cancer patients and their caregivers with peer reviewed information specific to their illness and treatment plan, a digital journal to keep track of symptoms and progress, a database for their medical records and access to a global community of people fighting the disease.
    (Spoiler! – they secured $500,000 investment from “shark” and Los Angeles based investor Andrew Banks.)
    Read more about their incredible work here, or watch the full episode!
    —Pictured (from left to right) CancerAid co-founders Dr Nikhil Pooviah, Dr Raghav Murali-Ganesh, and CTO Dr Martin Seneviratne

    Dr Gemma Sharp
    Top 5 Under 40
    Dr Gemma Sharp is one of ABC Radio National’s Top 5 Under 40. As one of five of the most impressive and dynamic minds in the country, Gemma will work with ABC journalists and broadcasters to spread the word about science.
    You can listen to Fran Kelly’s interview with two of the Top 5, Dr Tom Raimondo and Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly, here.

    Dr Sam Wills
    Surfing study
    John Monash Scholar, academic, economist and surf enthusiast Dr Sam Wills recently released a fascinating study which attempts to quantify the impact of high quality surf breaks on surrounding local economies.
    “I had the idea for the paper straight after I submitted my PhD thesis,” Dr Wills said. “It was November and I needed to get out of Oxford, so I looked for somewhere warm and sunny with good waves. I settled on Taghazout​ in Morocco, thinking it would be quiet. Flying in at sunset over the desert I noticed that everything was dark, except for one little spot that was lit up like Pitt Street: Taghazout. Once I arrived I realised that this previously sleepy little fishing village had been overrun by surfers, and so I wanted to figure out whether it was systematically happening around the world.”
    Read more about it here.

    Hugh Evans’
    Famous friends

    Rihanna, Julia Gillard and John Monash Scholar and Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans visited Malawi’s schools in January as part of Global Partnership for Education’s campaign to raise $3.1 billion to bring quality education to over 870 million children in 89 countries between 2018 and 2020.
    Watch the video released this month promoting the campaign and find out more here.

    Sarah Lux-Lee
    Mindr founder

    In April Saraj Lux-Lee’s new social venture Mindr was awarded 3rd place in the Columbia Venture Competition, winning $10,000 toward its continued development. Dubbed “the TED Talks of the parenting world” by Time Out, Mindr runs talks, workshops, lectures and events led by global experts where crying babies are welcome. 

    Pictured (from left to right) baby Ella, Sarah Lux-Lee, and UN Women’s Michelle King at Mindr’s International Women’s Day Advocacy Workshop 8 March 2017.

    John Monash Scholars moving on…
    2017 Scholars begin to take up their studies in Northern Universities. Shevaun Wright has commenced study for a Master of Fine art at UCLA and will take up a prestigious residency in Banff this August. Martin Seneviratne is settled at Stanford to do an MSc in Bioinformatics and health systems. Maja Arsic is on her way to Copenhagen to do a Ph.D in Plant Science. Hannah Barber is going to Harvard to do a M. Ed in Child Development. Brett Parkinson will take up his scholarship at LSE this coming year. Also commencing this year is Reuben Finighan (2016) who will take up his place at London School of Economics to study for a Ph.D in Behavioural Economics. Before he leaves Melbourne, he is finishing a book co-authored by Ross Garnaut. This will publish work they have been doing to understand the last few centuries, and the future, of capitalism, authoritarianism and democracy.
    Emma Howard got married in Canberra to partner James this last month. We wish them well. Andrew Hudson in New York had a little girl, Piper Sinclair Hudson.  Emma McIntosh has taken up a research opportunity which involves establishing new tropical forest monitoring plots and new partnerships in French Polynesia. She will return to Oxford in time for the new academic year. Jodi Gardner has been appointed at Fellow of Law at St John’s College, Cambridge. Sasha Zegenhagen has finished her final set of exams and is currently working on her dissertation which is due on 1st September. Kate Mitchell has passed her D.Phil viva at Oxford University and after a detour working in France will soon come to Canberra to take up a position as the Principal Research Officer to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Genevieve Martin is progressing extremely well with her clinical medicine studies at Oxford, and significantly is the captain of the Women’s Aussie Rules Football team there!
    We love to hear your news. Please do let us know what you are doing and where you are in the world. 

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  • October 2016
    October 2016 | Volume 1
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    Farewell message from the CEO Renata Bernarde
    Great Scholars’ stories and excellent Foundation performance are some of the highlights of a very successful year.
    I am pleased to share with you the Foundation’s latest results with the release of our 2015-16 Annual Report. The year has been marked by our Scholars’ excellent achievements, the Foundation’s first international conference “The Change Agenda,” a sound financial performance and a variety of engagement opportunities for the Scholars and Foundation supporters.
    This year was also marked by a change of logo, refreshing and modernising the look of the Foundation. We are also launching a fundraising appeal, hoping Scholars, their families and Foundation friends can contribute to support the growing alumni engagement activities.
    We are also celebrating the fact that almost 15 years ago on the 14th of December 2001, the Foundation was incorporated as an educational organisation for the purposes of promoting and encouraging the pursuit of knowledge by establishing, raising funds and administering what was to become one of Australia’s most important scholarships. I hope the John Monash Scholars, founding members and supporters can be proud of all that we have been able to achieve so far.
    You can read our 2015-16 Annual Report here.
    This is also my farewell note to all Foundation supporters, friends and Scholars. It has been an immense pleasure to lead this organisation in a phase of transformation, growth, maturity and strategic planning for the future. I have seen our supporters’ base grow wider and deeper, with a larger number of representatives from each of our supporters’ groups becoming more and more engaged with our work, events, volunteering and overall mission. We have implemented state of the art systems to support our growing operations, including a scholarship management portal, which we are the only organisation in Australia to adopt. It is a highly popular and well praised scholarship system used by many American universities and foundations. We have also implemented the best possible alumni engagement system to enhance our communications with our growing number of Scholars, donors and friends. We have the amazing support of over 100 volunteers and Scholars, who contribute their time and expertise to help us run the selection process, which is an amazing experience for all involved. Our Scholars are always available to help us and each other. Our professional team is now well established and able to support the Foundation through its next stage of growth.
    Thank you to all Scholars, supporters, members, staff (current and former) and the Board of Directors, especially our Chairman Jillian Segal, for the opportunity you have given me to be part of this great endeavour.
    Yours truly,
    Renata Bernarde

    Message from Jillian Segal AM, Chairman of the Foundation
    As Renata notes earlier in this newsletter, she will be leaving the Foundation later in the year to pursue some new challenges.
    We are most grateful for all she has done for the Foundation particularly her initiatives in systematising and professionalising the office and our processes including modernising the scholarship application process. In the past two years, Renata has brought great passion to the role and built a dedicated and cohesive team which has worked extremely hard to support our Scholars and events.
    We wish Renata well in her future endeavours and know that she will remain a true friend of the Foundation. Until we recruit a new CEO, Dr Peter Binks will act as an interim CEO.
    Yours sincerely,
    Jillian Segal AM

    John Monash Scholars in the News

    John Monash Scholars received great media coverage and produce a large number of publications, work and research which the Foundation communicates to its followers via the following channels: ourWebsite, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We encourage you to follow us on these platforms so you can keep up with their prolific work and achievements.
    In case you have missed it, here are some highlights.
    Madeline Gleeson
    2012 John Monash Scholar Madeline Gleeson has published “Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru.” The book explores what happened in the first three years of offshore processing since its recommencement in 2012 and what the experience has been like for asylum seekers who have been detained there. Madeline Gleeson is a Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW.

    Roger Noble
    2008 John Monash Scholar Brigadier Roger Noble is currently the second-in-command in the international fight against the Islamic State in Iraq. The article profiling Brigadier Noble explores his role in coordinating the overseas campaign and how they are working with local forces to remove the Islamic State from the region.

    Kathryn Parker
    2014 Australian Cultural John Monash Scholar Kathryn Parker has published, “Shakespearean drama: A vehicle for explorative learning and higher-order thinking,” in Education Matters. Kathryn discusses the educational benefits of studying Shakespeare in school. Kathryn has recently begun her PhD in Shakespeare studies in the Department of English at The University of Sydney following the completion of her MA in Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
    Diary Dates

    Announcement of the 2017 John Monash Scholars
    When: 21 November 2016
    The 2017 John Monash Scholars will be announced in the media, Foundation’s newsletter, social media and website on Monday 21st of November 2016. For more information about the announcement or to receive an embargoed media release a few days prior please contact Ms Hailey Berkhout on

    Annual General Meeting of the Foundation
    When: 30 November 2016
    Where: Melbourne
    Who: Members
    The Foundation Members will receive further communication regarding voting and attendance at the next AGM. For more information please contact Mr Halyer Rayner on

    2017 John Monash Scholars Presentation Ceremony
    Where: Melbourne
    Who: 2017 Scholars and families, alumni, members and supporters
    Further details will be sent to Scholars, members and supporters in December 2016. If you would like more information please contact Ms Paola Wisniak on


    The Change Agenda 2017: John Monash Scholars’ US Symposium
    When: 20-21 March 2017
    Where: New York City
    Who: Scholars based in the US, Canada and Asia, supporters and general public
    Following the success of the 2016 Symposium in the UK (you can see the Scholars’ presentation here), we are looking forward to welcoming Scholars and guests to our 2nd international conference, which will take place in New York. If you would like to be invited and be involved please contact Dr Judith Landsberg on
    The Foundation is grateful to the Lee Liberman Foundation and Woodside Energy for supporting the John Monash Scholars’ Symposia.
  • February 2016



    General Sir John Monash Foundation

    The Change Agenda
    Leadership and Direction for Australia’s Future
    Inaugural John Monash Scholars’ Symposium
    Friday 1 April 2016, St Hugh’s College Oxford, United Kingdom

    The John Monash Scholars currently studying and living in Europe want to share some of the excitement of their learning experiences. They have curated a series of short presentations on topical issues which are impacting Australia and the world. We hope you can join us either at Oxford or view their presentations online.

    The John Monash Scholarships are awarded to outstanding Australians, enabling them to study overseas to seek and perhaps find solutions to the world’s greatest problems. The John Monash Scholars are extremely grateful for the support provided by the Foundation’s supporters and they are excited to share their new found knowledge with the community.

    It is in this spirit of sharing and collaboration that the idea to hold a symposium was developed. As many Scholars are currently studying in Europe it was decided that the Foundation’s inaugural symposium would be held in the United Kingdom. The Foundation and Scholars plan to organise regular symposiums in the future, both in Australia and overseas. John Monash Scholars are leaders across a diverse range of disciplines and their short presentations will offer a unique insight into the topics that our Scholars are exploring in their postgraduate studies and careers. The event will also include panel discussions so that guests and Scholars can together discuss topics that will have an impact on Australia’s future.

    We would be delighted if you could join us for this inaugural one-day event. As friends of the Foundation we ask you to please help us promote the symposium by forwarding this invitation to individuals in your network whom you believe would be interested in the opportunity to hear from some of Australia’s finest minds. If you are unable to attend we are planning to upload the presentations on our website and social media in the weeks and months following the event.


    The Change Agenda

    Leadership and Direction for Australia’s Future

    Inaugural John Monash Scholars’ Symposium
    Friday 1 April 2016, St Hugh’s College
    Oxford, United Kingdom

    Drivers of Change

    Presentations on the impact of nano-technology, the future of healthcare, and the changing environment.

    Our Human Response

    Presentations on character and leadership, poetry and the modern apology, and LGBTI representation in teen literature.

    Harnessing Technology

    Presentations on ‘smart’ cities, big data, and medical technology.

    Leading the Region

    Presentations on the impact of migration, clean tech entrepreneurship, and regional climate change.

    Major Sponsor

    The Lee Liberman Foundation
    The John Monash Community Programs, including the symposium and alumni leadership and development activities, are generously supported by the Lee Liberman Foundation. Symposium Supporters


  • December 2015 Newsletter



    General Sir John Monash Foundation Newsletter

    Chairman, Jillian Segal and the 2016 John Monash Scholars
    Announcement of the 2016 John Monash Scholars, Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House, 25 November 2015

    The Announcement of the
    2016 John Monash Scholars

    A Message from the Chairman, Ms Jillian Segal AM

    On behalf of the Board and management of the General Sir John Monash Foundation I am honoured to announce the 2016 John Monash Scholars. The Scholars, who will be awarded their scholarships formally in February 2016, represent a wide range of areas of study and will add diverse expertise to our growing community of John Monash Scholars which has now reached 127 members.

    The 17 Scholars selected for the 2016 John Monash Scholarships:
    • represent five States and the ACT;
    • have studied at 10 different Australian universities;
    • will pursue studies in a range of fields such as music, engineering, health policy, finance and history; and
    • plan to enrol in 12 different overseas universities.

    The John Monash Scholarships are a nation-building initiative made possible by the generous support received from the Australian Government, State Governments, corporate sponsors, foundations and individual donors. Thank you to all our important and generous donors and sponsors. I would also like to acknowledge the following new major scholarships and supporters of the Foundation who have joined since the start of the calendar year:
    • Department of Veterans’ Affairs, supporting a perpetual Anzac Centenary John Monash Scholarship;
    • NSW Government, supporting a perpetual Roden Cutler NSW John Monash Scholarship;
    • Susan & Isaac Wakil Foundation, supporting the 2016 Susan & Isaac Wakil Foundation John Monash Scholarship;
    • Helen & Michael Gannon, supporting the Helen & Michael Gannon John Monash Scholarship to be awarded in 2017;
    • Lee Liberman Foundation, supporting the John Monash Scholars Community Program and the John Monash Scholars Aid Program;
    • New Chairman’s Circle Members: Mr John Allpass, Emeritus Professor Peter Darvall AO, Mr Stephen Gerlach AM, Mr Andrew Waites and Ms Kerri Burgess, Mr Steven Wilson AM and Dr Jane Wilson; and
    • The University of Adelaide, joining the Australian Universities’ Consortium.

    The Foundation is also very grateful for the support and commitment of over 100 volunteers who have assisted in the 2016 selection process. Our First Reviewers, State and Territory Chairs and Panellists, the Chair of our National Selection Panel, Emeritus Professor Peter Darvall AO, and the National Panellists are all a vital part of the Foundation’s family and the backbone of the scholarship selection process.
    I look forward to updating you in the coming years on the journey these 17 young Australians will take as they pursue their studies and become leaders in their fields. To find out more about other John Monash Scholars and the positive impact they are having in a range of sectors both in Australia and overseas, please review our latest Annual Report on our website, or follow us on social media.

    Warm regards,

    Jillian Segal AM
    General Sir John Monash Foundation

    Learn more about the
    2016 John Monash Scholars

    The full citations for the 2016 John Monash Scholars are available via our website. Click here to learn more about these inspiring Australians.

    Announcement Highlights

    Visit our Facebook page or click on the images below to view more photos from the Announcement of the 2016 John Monash Scholars. 


  • October 2015 Newsletter

    General Sir John Monash Foundation Newsletter

    A snapshot from the Foundation’s Annual Report 2014-15

    Annual Report 2014-15

    A Year in Review, from Chief Executive Officer Renata Bernarde

    I am delighted to enclose in this newsletter our most recent Annual Report, jam-packed with great news about our Foundation and the John Monash Scholars. I hope that you will enjoy the cover, which is an artwork from Fernando do Campo, our 2014 Australian Cultural John Monash Scholar (supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Mr Tim Fairfax AC).  You can read more about Fernando and his recent art exhibition in New York on page 15.

    We have collated the most interesting published news about our Scholars on pages 10 and 11, and we have sprinkled updates about our alumni throughout the report. You will also read about the Foundation’s strong financial performance, continued growth and new initiatives such as the New Scholars’ Retreat, as well as our future goals and plans.

    I will be in touch again before the end of the year to share with you the good news about the selection of the 2016 John Monash Scholars. We are at the tail-end of the selection process and the official announcement will be made at the end of November, so watch this space!

    Once again, I welcome your feedback and ideas. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read our report.

    Warm regards,
    Renata Bernarde
    Chief Executive Officer, General Sir John Monash Foundation

    Click here to view the Annual Report as an e-magazine
    Click here to view the Annual Report as a PDF

    Special offer exclusive to the
    General Sir John Monash Foundation

    War Classics by General Sir John Monash 

    Black Inc.

    The publishers of “Monash War Classics” have kindly offered to donate $20 to our Foundation from every purchase made via the link below. The collection retails for $79.99 however it is available at the special price of $69.99 until the 11 November 2015.

    War Letters of General Monash

    This collection of extraordinary, intimate letters from General Sir John Monash to his wife and daughter, records his experiences throughout World War I, from landing at Gallipoli to leading decisive victories on the Western Front. Monash writes with remarkable insight and candour. Republished in full for the first time since the 1930s, this collection includes an introduction and historical notes by A.K. Macdougall, new photos of Gallipoli and the Western Front, and additional letters, including Monash’s moving final letter to his wife before the Gallipoli landing.

    The Australian Victories in France in 1918

    First published in 1920, this famous work by General Sir John Monash, regarded as the best allied commander of World War I, immediately garnered glowing praise as one of the most entertaining and informative accounts of war ever written. It is now recognised as one of the most important records of World War I. This edition features a new foreword, stunning photos, and colour reproductions of the original maps that were hand-drawn under Monash’s supervision.

    Presented here in a collectors’ slipcase, the War Classics, offer unparalleled insight in the role of Australians in World War I, and into the experience of one of Australia’s greatest leaders, General Sir John Monash.

    For more information and to take advantage of this special offer, please click here.
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  • April 2015 Newsletter

    General Sir John Monash Foundation Newsletter

    2015 John Monash Scholars with His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, Lady Cosgrove, Foundation Chairman Ms Jillian Segal AM and Foundation Cheif Executive Officer Renata Bernarde.


    From Chief Executive Officer Renata Bernarde

    On behalf of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to our first newsletter. These are exciting times for the Foundation and our Scholars, and we hope our quarterly newsletters create an opportunity for you to learn more about us, and keep in touch with our Scholars, and our calendar of events. The newsletter is going out to all friends of the Foundation: Scholars and their families, donors past and present, patrons, members, assessors and panellists who assist us with the Scholarship selection.

    On the 4th of May we opened the selection process for the 2016 John Monash Scholarships. We hope to receive many high quality applications, and you can help us by promoting it to friends, family and colleagues. We all know an outstanding Australian who would greatly benefit from a John Monash Scholarship, so please help us reach out to him or her! Thank you in advance for your assistance with this promotion.

    In addition to the support the Foundation receives from federal government, corporate sponsors and individual donors, we have had the pleasure this year to welcome the ongoing support of the NSW Government and the Government of Victoria, each sponsoring a John Monash Scholarship for their respective states. These is a great outcome that we hope to replicate in other states and territories in the future. If you would like to learn more about opportunities to support the John Monash Foundation please contact us and we will be delighted to assist you.

    We were moved by the many commemorative services held in Australia and around the globe on ANZAC Day. Included in this newsletter is a short article about how General Sir John Monash helped initiate this great tradition. We recognize the values that the ANZACs embodied and we are proud to see many of those same values in our John Monash Scholars, who are going on to roles of global leadership. You will also have the opportunity to read about some of them in the “John Monash Scholars in the News” section, and the interview with Dr Matthew Baker who was recently selected as one of the top 5 scientists under 40 in Australia.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter, and I wholeheartedly welcome your feedback and ideas for future issues.

    Yours truly,
    Renata Bernarde
    Chief Executive Officer, General Sir John Monash Foundation

    What does bionanotechnology rhyme with?

    John Monash Scholar Dr Matthew Baker is bridging the gap between science and poetry 

    2005 John Monash Scholar Dr Matthew Baker was recently selected as one of Australia’s Top 5 Scientists under 40 by ABC Radio National and UNSW.

    Matthew describes himself as a “poet-scientist,” combining his love of performance poetry and nanomachine science, and has performed live at a number of festivals over the past years. Matthew completed his PhD at the University of Oxford, studying the Bacterial Flagellar Motor, a nanoscale rotary electric motor which makes bacteria swim. In the article below, Matthew discusses his work as a scientist, his love of music collaboration and competitive fencing.

    Matthew, tell us about your work as a biophysicist at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI).

    M: We work on the artificial synthesis of the flagellar motor. I’ve spent most of my research career looking at this motor.  I bring single molecule expertise to the group here. That is, how to build high resolution microscopes to look at the motor while it builds itself.

    We are the first people in the world to look at building the motor in vitro and it relies on a consortium we have between Osaka, Japan, and two of my former supervisors from Oxford.

    My goal has always been to be an approachable scientist. For me it is about working out how complex systems have emerged, evolutionarily, as this informs our own origins, and ultimately, complex emergence is a defining facet of life.

    In March ABC Radio National and UNSW named you one of Australia’s Top 5 Scientists Under 40. What does it mean to be a leading “next generation science communicator?”

    M: I have always found it easy to explain complex ideas in simple ways. At the end of the day everyone is capable of speaking to family on the phone and explaining their day to their grandma. I also think we have an obligation to explain our research; that does not mean we have to simplify the work, but you should be able to explain why it is significant and innovative in a few minutes to almost any member of society. In fact, I usually find that when you do that, you also remind yourself about why it is significant and innovative.

    I’m stoked [to be selected a Top 5 Scientist under 40] although I do not for a second believe that means I am one of the top 5 scientists under 40, just one of the lucky people given a shot at producing science on the radio in Australia, and I am excited at the opportunity to work with the ABC to do this.

    Click here to read the full interview on our website. 

    ANZAC Day commemorations 

    1916 to 2015: Living the legacy initiated by General Sir John Monash

    General Sir John Monash was the instigator for what is today recognised as one of the most solemn days on the Australian calendar, ANZAC Day April 25th. A day in recognition of that first landing by Australian Forces at Ari Burnu on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula, now forever in the Australian psyche known as ANZAC Cove.

    On 25th April 1916, while still in Tel el Kebir, Sir John Monash turned out his brigade of some 15,000 men at 6.45am. Every man who had served at Gallipoli wore a blue ribbon on the right breast. Those, such as Monash, who also took part in the initial landings wore a red ribbon as well. “How few of us left” he noted in his diary, “Who are entitled to wear both”.

    There was a short service in keeping with the solemn occasion to remember fallen comrades. Monash wanted the day to be memorable as well as enjoyable. He organised a festival with cricket matches in the morning, then the soldiers went swimming in the canal. There was even a skit on the Gallipoli landing to lighten the occasion.

    100 years on from the landings at Gallipoli, a John Monash Scholar bearing the legacy of Sir John Monash’s name, played an important role at the Townsville centenary commemorations. Brigadier Roger Noble, Commander of 3rd Brigade, participated in his local ANZAC Day commemorations by delivering a heartfelt speech to  over 25,000 at the Dawn Service. It was Townsville’s 3rd Brigade who first stepped foot on the shores of ANZAC Cove in Turkey on April 25, 1915. Brigadier Noble was awarded a 2008 John Monash Scholarship to study for a Masters of International Public Policy at John Hopkins University, USA. Brigadier Noble has been heavily involved in the relief efforts following Cyclone Marcia in Queensland and Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.

    References and exerts taken from Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War (Roland Perry 2004)
    Image: John Monash, ANZAC Day Parade, 25th April 1931. Image From Australian Government National Archives.

    John Monash Scholars in the news

    The John Monash Scholars  have  received great media coverage over the last couple of months. In case you have missed it, here are some highlights. Click on the pictures to read full articles, or click on the Scholar names to be taken to their profiles on our website.

    Canberra Times – 12 February 2015

    2012 John Monash Scholar Madeline Gleeson commented on the Australian Human Rights Commission Report, The Forgotten Children, made public earlier this year.

    The Cairns Post – 25 February 2015
    2013 John Monash Scholar Kate Smith has been selected to participate in the inaugural China Australia Millenial Project (CAMP) which will bring together 100 emerging Australian leaders and 100 young Chinese innovators.

    ABC RN – 7 March 2015

    2005 John Monash Scholar Dr Matthew Baker was awarded the ABC Radio National and UNSW Top 5 Under 40 Scientist. Watch the ABC RN video above or click here to read more on Matt and his fellow top 5 Under 40 Scientists.

    The University of Sydney – 18 March 2015

    2004 John Monash Scholar Dr Jacqueline Mowbray has been awarded a prestigious prize by the American Society of International Law for coauthored publication, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Commentary, Cases, and Materials (Oxford University Press).

    ABC Radio Australia – 18 March 2015 

    2008 John Monash Scholar Brigadier Roger Noble, Commander of 3rd Brigade, comments to ABC Radio National about the Australian Defence Force efforts to support Vanuatu following the devastating impact of Cycle Pam.

    The Daily Telegraph – 19 March 2015                                       Image ©Cameron Richardson

    You may not know that 2009 John Monash Scholar Dr Mark Schembri is not only a dedicated vet but also a baking enthusiast. In addition to being one of the vets at the Sydney Easter, he was also a competitor in Australia’s biggest cake competition.

    The Courier Mail – 2 May 2015    

    2015 John Monash Scholar Lauren Ward has been chosen as one of the participants of Dark Mofo Hothouse in Tasmania. Lauren will join politicians, academics and community leaders to discuss the issues facing education in Tasmania.

    To keep up to date with the achievements and work of the John Monash Scholars, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can also stay up to date through our website.

    Diary dates

    What: Applications open for 2016 John Monash Scholarships
    Where: Australia wide
    Who: General Sir John Monash Foundation
    When: Open 4th May and close 12th August 2015Any applicants with questions regarding the John Monash Scholarships are encouraged to contact the Foundation for support.More information
    What: Figure behind a lake
    Where:The Australian Consulate-General, New York, USA
    Who: 2014 John Monash Scholar Fernando do Campo
    When: 9th April –  14th May 2015This exhibition presents thirty new paintings produced in Fernando’s studio in Manhattan at Parsons The New School for Design.More information
    What: The Picture Box Orchestra
    Where: Paris Cat- Parisian Loft, 6 Goldie Place, Melbourne
    Who: 2015 John Monash Scholar Alies Sluiter
    When: 8.30pm 9 May 2015Led by Alies Sluiter, The Picture Box Orchestra incorporate an array of musical techniques, including Indian classical, Jazz, Hip-hop and more, to create evocative music.More information
    What: See you at the barricades
    Where: Art Gallery of NSW
    Who: 2015 John Monash Scholar Macushla Robinson, Curator
    When: 30 May – 29 Nov 2015Macushla Robinson curates the exhibition, See you at the barricades, utilising the Art Gallery of NSW’s collection in order to investigate the relationship between protesting and art.More information
    Like what you have seen here? Tell your friends, family and colleagues about the achievements of the General Sir John Monash Foundation and the John Monash Scholars. Share our newsletter by using the buttons below.