I hope this finds all of you safe and well at this ‘peculiar’ time. I have adopted the adjective ‘peculiar’, as it was expressed in a recent email from our 2020 BHP John Monash Scholar Dylan Sherman. I have decided to adopt it (thanks Dylan) as it is such a nice change from the more negative terms more commonly used such as ‘challenging’ – which these times certainly are. I like the inquiring tone of ‘peculiar’ which also incites one to contemplate both the issues and the opportunities. While there is so much complexity to be dealt with across all sectors of society and so many are facing great difficulty and adjustment to so many drastic changes in what we consider our normal lives, this adversity is also a time for creativity and innovation. There are always positives to focus on.
A number of Scholars are working at the front line of the pandemic including: Dr Mark Schembri (2009) treating patients at the Prince Alfred in Sydney, engineer and inventor Dr Harrison Steel (2016) is working on two ground-breaking projects to combat the spread of COVID-19 and Dr Victoria Cox (2015) currently based in the NT as a junior doctor in the Emergency Department of Royal Darwin Hospital.
19 Scholars are overseas currently completing their degrees under our support and we have been most concerned for their well being and the impact COVID-19 is having on their studies. All the universities have moved to online classes so for many Scholars it has been preferable to return home, particularly those in campus accommodation. All Scholars are confidently completing their programs and research online. We are in close contact with all our Scholars and checking on their welfare. Fortunately everyone who needed to be home has safely done so and those still overseas are safe and secure. We are grateful for the robust connectivity across our Scholar communities in various locations and that they are keeping in regular contact with each other and us. Quarantinis – aka nibble and drinks by Zoom for small groups of Scholars – are operating well.
The John Monash Scholars Public Lecture scheduled for 18th March, designed to consolidate some of the thinking from the Symposium and keep the intellectual discourse moving, has unfortunately had to be postponed until further notice. However, the University of Melbourne podcast team for Pursuithave recorded a discussion as part of their Eavesdrop on Expertsseries with Dr Amy McLennan and Dr Davis McCarthy who were to be on the public lecture panel. Keep an eye out for a notice when this goes live in the next few weeks, it is sure to be a fascinating conversation.
A few weeks ago we set up an initiative called MonashMindswhich I hope you will have seen. This is a weekly bulletin to share news from our John Monash Scholars to give you all something positive and uplifting to read – a welcome relief from the pandemic gloom. Please share among your friends and colleagues.
Enjoy the stories following and stay safe and positive.