The Scholars podcast is a show featuring scholars from the General Sir John Monash Foundation. Hosted by CEO of Mojo Media, Justin Kelly, he interviews the best, brightest, boldest and bravest across all fields of academia, business, science, humanities, and the arts.
Episode 1: 2016 Zelman Cowen John Monash Scholar Michael Grebla
Born in Perth, Michael is an international freelance composer based primarily in Manhattan. He focuses principally on concert music, working chamber music groups internationally and filmmakers. His music endeavours to create meaningful and inclusive cultural experiences, drawing influences from tradition and the present with an emphasis on audience engagement.
Michael is a curious composer with interests also in Mechanical Engineering and Acoustics in which he holds a bachelor degree as well as photography – each have inspired previous compositions. His first solo concert/exhibition titled “Portraits of UWA” was a mix-media event exploring historical landscapes, sculptures and wildlife through both photography and musical portraits. His work “Euler’s Music” with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra’ Chamber Orchestra explored the mechanical principals of gyroscopic precession. In 2018, he premiered a work for the Australian Youth Orchestra in Adelaide and his first string-quartet at the Zodiac Festival in Nice, France where he was awarded the Composition Prize. In 2019 he was awarded runner up in the New York Composer’s Circle John Eaton Memorial competition and also completed his first two featuring appearances in Connecticut Summerfest, Atlantic Music Festival and Charlotte New Music Festival. In May 2020 he will be writing for the Borromeo String Quartet at Alba Music Festival, Italy.
Michael recently completed a Master of Music with Honours at the New England Conservatory where he studied with Kati Agocs with the support of the General Sir John Monash Foundation. Prior, he completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Western Australia with First Class Honours studying with Christopher Tonkin and James Ledger and was award the University’s Matilda Prize for Cultural Excellence. While in Perth, he founded and directed Music at St George's College, a chamber music organization that put on some 55 concerts to 13,500 audience members and raised significant support for scholarships, endowments and instruments for promising young artists.
Sam is a research associate in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney; the Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies (OxCarre) at the University of Oxford; and the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) at ANU. From 2016-17 Sam was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Sydney, and from 2013-16 he was the principal investigator of an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant at the University of Oxford, where he held positions in the Department of Economics and Pembroke College. From 2017 he has also been an Economist at Rokos Capital Management, London. Sam has advised the World Bank on natural resource policy in Iraq, Libya and Uganda and has also worked with the IMF, the Bank of England, the International Growth Centre, the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. In the private sector he has worked with Taylor Fry Actuaries, Westpac Bank and McKinsey and Co. Sam completed a D.Phil (Ph.D) in Economics (Oxford) in 2014 as a John Monash Scholar, and was awarded the David Walton award for the top candidate in macroeconomics or finance. He also completed an M.Phil in Economics (Oxford) as a Commonwealth Scholar, and a B.Com in Actuarial Studies and Finance (UNSW) as a Co-Op Scholar, graduating with a High Distinction average, the University Medal and the Investec Prize for the top all-round student.
Episode 3: 2017 Commonwealth Bank John Monash Scholar Arlie McCarthy
Arlie’s doctoral research addresses the potential risks posed by marine invasive species establishing in Antarctica. Warming oceans and reductions in sea ice caused by climate change, combined with increasing human activity within the Southern Ocean, will likely increase the chance of non-native species establishing in the Antarctic region. Arlie’s research investigates factors that affect both the transport of non-indigenous species to Antarctic coastlines and the capacity of such species to establish populations, both now and in the future.
In her home town of Melbourne, Australia, Arlie completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and a Diploma in Languages (German) at the University of Melbourne and by final year was taking as many marine biology courses as possible. She then moved to Hobart to complete a Masters in Marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania. Arlie’s work has resulted in several academic papers and advice to governments in Australia and the UK. Arlie’s research has taken her around the world, including Costa Rica, Mexico and several remote islands around Australia. As part of her masters, she completed two courses at the University Centre in Svalbard, where she discovered that benthic ecology, marine invertebrates and polar regions are especially interesting.
Episode 4: 2015 Anzac Centenary John Monash Scholar Dr Phoebe Williams
Phoebe has an MBBS (Hons) from the University of Sydney, a BCom and BSci from the ANU, and Masters in Global Health Science with Distinction from Oxford. She was the founder of the 'Hands of Help' student organization, building 5 primary schools, establishing a community health project (run by Ugandans, for Ugandans) and creating a trust fund to allow socially disadvantaged children in Kenya and Uganda to study at a tertiary level. In 2013 Phoebe was cited as one of Australia's '100 women of Influence'. She is a marathon runner, and plays in the Australian Doctors' Orchestra. She was a Clinical Paediatric Registrar at the Sydney Children's Hospital lectures and tutor at The University of Sydney (Masters Programme); and is an appointee to the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Phoebe has six publications in peer-reviewed medical journals, including a recent article on outcomes in multifocal neuroblastoma, and a view on interferon-gamma assays in the diagnosis of tuberculosis among migrant children to NSW. Phoebe completed a DPhil at Oxford focusing on the treatment of infections in paediatric hospital admissions.
Episode 5: 2013 BHP John Monash Scholar Jillian Kilby
Jillian has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with First Class Honours, who was the Australian Young Professional Engineer of the Year and Sydney University's Young Alumni of the Year. She established a project management and civil engineering firm in 2009, that continues to serve regional NSW. Jillian used her scholarship to study a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy at Stanford University. Upon graduation, Jillian founded The Infrastructure Collaborative, a US-based Public Benefit Corporation where she is a strategic adviser to public agencies and private sector clients. Jillian's mission is to move horizon infrastructure projects from planning shelves to be shovel ready. She splits her time between San Francisco and regional NSW.
Episode 6: 2006 John Monash Scholar Dr Tim Trudgian
Originally from Brisbane, Tim Trudgian obtained a DPhil in mathematics from Oxford in 2010. He returned to Canberra in 2012, after a two-year post-doc in Canada, as an ARC Early Career Research Fellow. He is currently an ARC Future Fellow at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. His research is in analytic number theory. His two sons are named after former Australian test cricketers and have both developed the full Trudgian-esque armoury of offside shots.
Tim believes the human side of Mathematics is underrated. Tim believes Maths has more association with the Arts, than it does with science. Some math problems are thousands of years old and because it has such a rich history, it requires you to be well read and think broadly - you have to be creative. Tim also really enjoys talking to the younger scholars as a “non poster child” and sharing advice. He’s also a big advocate for work life balance and has his own take on the term “STEM”. He also loves his family, the Opera, Shakespeare and the intricacies of Test cricket.
Episode 7: 2007 John Monash Scholar Dr Gemma Sharp
Gemma completed her MSc in the Department of Oncology at Cambridge University in 2010. Her research focused on identifying the cellular origin of the various types of breast cancers, and the tumour-initiating mechanisms employed by these cells. Her analysis and thesis demonstrated that the existence of breast cancer stem cells is not certain, and therefore that the design of therapeutics targeting breast cancer stem cells requires a better understanding of tumour-initiating mechanisms. Since returning to Australia, Gemma has studied clinical psychology and completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Flinders University. She has a strong interest in body image and mental health research. Her PhD focused on women's motivations for female genital cosmetic surgery and the psychological outcomes of this surgery. Her research findings have been widely publicised in both national and international media. After completing a one- year Post-Doc at Curtin University, Gemma started an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellowship at Monash University in 2018 at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc). She is a Senior Research Fellow and leads the Body Image Research Group at MAPrc. She also runs her own private clinical psychology practice in Melbourne where she specialises in the treatment of body image concerns, eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder.
Episode 8: 2015 Australian Cultural John Monash Scholar Alies Sluiter
Alies has recently received her Master of Fine Arts in Film from Columbia University in New York, which she attended with support from her John Monash Scholarship. She also has a Bachelor of Music Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Arts from the Australian Film Television and Radio School. She is a composer for feature films, documentaries, television (CNN, ABC, BBC, Foxtel, SBS), music, theatre and dance productions and has guest lectured at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide and Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London. As a violinist and musical director she has performed in over 50 countries performing with leading artists including Nitin Sawhney, Akram Khan, Sylvie Guillem and the Shaolin Monks of China. In 2011 she founded The Picture Box Orchestra who have performed at festivals such as WOMADelaide. Most recently, her short film Ayaan premiered at the 2020 Sydney Film Festival as a finalist for the Dendy Awards.
Episode 9: 2017 Roth/Segal John Monash Harvard Scholar Hannah Barber
Hannah holds a BA in Politics and International Studies, a Master of Teaching from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As an early childhood development specialist, she has international experience in developing and implementing innovative strategies to achieve breakthrough outcomes for children and families. Hannah has expertise in applying cutting edge insights from the science of early childhood development, framing, adult learning, social enterprise and scaling research to rethink and redesign programs and policies. She is currently working with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, a world renowned R&D platform that uses the latest scientific insights to improve the life outcomes of children facing adversity. In this role, Hannah works with a range of national and international innovators, including policy makers, system leaders, practitioners and social entrepreneurs to design, test and scale their work. Upon returning to Australia, Hannah hopes to be able to use these insights to drive systemic change across the early childhood policy and practice landscape to ultimately improve learning, health and behavioural outcomes for the next generation.
Episode 10: 2017 Australian Universities' John Monash Scholar Zulpha Styer
Zulpha is a public policy professional and lawyer who is passionate about delivering the best outcomes for multicultural communities through improved policy development and community engagement.
Zulpha earned a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in May 2020. She studied at Columbia as a John Monash Scholar with fellowships from the International Fellows Program, Global Public Policy Network Sustainable Development Goals Professional Program, and the Baumann Endowment Fund.
Zulpha also has bachelor degrees in Law and Arts from the University of New South Wales, and a Master of Laws with Merit and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University.
She currently serves as a Principal Council Officer in the NSW Parliament Legislative Council, where she manages education inquiries. She has more than six years of experience as a senior policy and legal advisor to Australian governments, including the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department and NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. In 2015, she was awarded an Australia Day Achievement Medallion in 2015 for her public service. Zulpha has developed and consulted on policy initiatives in the USA, South Africa, Peru, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
She has extensive volunteer experience and sits on the Multicultural NSW Regional Advisory Council for Metropolitan Sydney.
Episode 11: 2017 Helen and Michael Gannon John Monash Scholar Dr Ida Whiteman
Ida holds an MBBS with honours from Monash University, a Diploma in Child Health from the University of Sydney with High Distinction and an MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine from Oxford, with a research thesis on paediatric rheumatic heart disease. She is now a paediatric cardiology fellow at Monash Children's Hospital in Melbourne. Ida has volunteered in Papua New Guinea, Nepal after the earthquake crisis of 2015, in Malawi and Zimbabwe with Pangea Health Education and assists with research and clinical work in East Timor and the Northern Territory, visiting Wadeye in 2020 for rheumatic heart disease research. In 2014, Ida worked for a year in the Northern Territory, where her passion for Indigenous Health began. Outside of work, Ida speaks French, has taught flying trapeze to children in New York State, and enjoys singing in choirs. Ida hopes to become the second paediatric cardiologist working full-time in Darwin, specialising in the management and prevention of rheumatic heart disease.