Nobel Prize winner to inspire graduates
A Nobel Prize winner, the NSW Chief Scientist and a Hollywood designer and art director will be among the occasional speakers who will inspire students when the University of Newcastle stages its April graduation ceremonies at Callaghan.
More than 2,800 students will graduate in 12 ceremonies over two weeks in the Great Hall. Ceremonies begin Thursday 4 April and continue on Friday 5 April and Saturday 6 April, with further ceremonies to be held on Friday 12 April and Saturday 13 April.
On Friday 5 April the University is awarding an honorary degree to West Australian gastroenterologist and Nobel Laureate, Professor Barry Marshall AC, a pioneer researcher responsible for discovering that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori caused one of the world’s most common diseases – peptic ulcer disease.
The first cohort of the University’s Joint Medical Program (JMP) will graduate on Friday 5 April. The JMP is an expansion of the University of Newcastle’s Bachelor of Medicine program, in partnership with the University of New England, offering students the opportunity to practise in urban, regional, and remote Australia.
Information regarding the April 4, 5 and 6 ceremonies and graduation highlights follow.
►Thursday 4 April
10am: FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND ARTS
Occasional speaker: Mr Craig Ritchie
Mr Craig Ritchie has spent his professional life campaigning for equity in Indigenous health and education, and informing Indigenous policy at all levels of government. He is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney and General Manager, Indigenous and Equity Branch - Higher Education Division, in the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. Read Mr Ritchie’s full bio.
Graduate profile: Katie and guide dog Ari prove support is the key to success
Katie Butler is a shining example of how a second chance to pursue a tertiary education, and ongoing support, can achieve a dream. After leaving high school during Year 11, the vision-impaired student completed the University of Newcastle’s tertiary preparation program, Newstep. On Thursday 4 April 21-year-old Katie will cross the Great Hall stage with her trusted guide dog companion Ari, to collect her Bachelor of Social Science with distinction. Ari too will receive a certificate of recognition to acknowledge his support during Katie’s university study.
Katie Butler and her companion Ari will graduate and the Faculty of Education and Arts ceremony at 10am on Thursday 4 April. Read Katie's story.
Graduate profile: David’s story ends with PhD in creative writing
Creative writing student David Murray, 49, will graduate on Thursday with a PhD in creative writing from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Novocastrian’s work centred on a non-fictional narrative set in 19th Century Newcastle’s colonial penal outstation, tracking the lives of a few inmates.
Titled Words for the Heat of Deeds, the work attempts to rework the limited and mostly incomplete facts of ordinary criminal lives into a portrait of time and place, complete with all its squalor, violence, contradictions, resilience and grace.
“The outstation was an experiment in secondary punishment and its 20-odd years as an open prison encompassed the Rum Rebellion, the expansive governorship of the Lachlan Macquarie years and a population boom of convicts and settlers following the Napoleonic wars,” Mr Murray said.
As an open prison defined by contemporary methods of corporeal punishment, penology and martial law, the outstation was also a uniquely intimate, human world that housed, fed, broke or occasionally redeemed its motley crew of reoffending convicts.
Its original 1804 population of around 100 peaked to just over a 1000 by 1820.
Mr Murray graduated with first class honours from his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007 and also received the University Medal and Faculty Medal in that year.
Mr Murray will graduate on Thursday 4 April at the 10am Faculty of Education and Arts ceremony.
2pm: FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND ARTS
Occasional speaker: Emeritus Professor Phil Foreman, AM
Emeritus Professor Phil Foreman AM is a distinguished educator and researcher in the field of special education and current Chair of the NSW Institute of Teachers.
Professor Foreman was instrumental in developing the link between the University of Newcastle and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, leading to the establishment of the Renwick Centre, a research centre for projects related to the education of students with hearing or vision impairments.
Through the University of Newcastle, the Centre provides postgraduate programs for professionals educating children with sensory disabilities. Read Professor Foreman’s full bio.
6pm: FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND ARTS
Occasional speaker: Dr Frances Gentle
University of Newcastle Alumnus, Dr Frances Gentle, has combined her two passions to work in the education and disability fields for almost 30 years.
Dr Gentle is an academic at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s (RIDBC) Renwick Centre where she coordinates and lectures postgraduate courses in the field of sensory impairment, and researches current issues relating to the education of children with vision impairment. Since 1990 Dr Gentle has taught students of all levels in mainstream and special needs schools. Read Dr Gentle’s full bio.
Graduate profile: Renwick Centre celebrates 700th graduate
The University of Newcastle and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) have operated the RIDBC Renwick Centre for Research and Professional Education for more than 20 years.
On April 4, 74 Renwick Centre higher degree students will graduate at the Faculty of Education and Arts graduation ceremony, taking the total number of graduates to date to 700.
“This is the largest cohort of graduating students from the Renwick Centre in the history of our relationship,” Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Education and Arts, Professor John Germov, said.
“The University of Newcastle, through the RIDBC Renwick Centre, is the only Australian provider of comprehensive higher degree programs in the area of special education for children with hearing and vision impairment.”
The Renwick Centre higher degree students will graduate at the 6pm Faculty of Education and Arts ceremony on 4 April.
►Friday 5 April
10am: FACULTY OF HEALTH
Occasional speaker: Nobel Laureate, Professor Barry Marshall AC
West Australian clinical professor, gastroenterologist and Nobel Laureate, Professor Barry Marshall AC, is a pioneer researcher responsible for the most significant medical discovery in the history of gastroenterology.
In 1982, together with fellow scientist Professor Robin Warren, Professor Marshall hypothesised that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori caused one of the world’s most common diseases – peptic ulcer disease. Professor Marshall proved the germ was harmful in a well-publicised 1984 experiment in which he drank a culture of the bacterium and developed gastritis.
The scientists’ discovery revolutionised the management of peptic ulcer disease, changing it from a chronic, disabling condition requiring surgery to one curable with a short course of antibiotics.
Professor Marshall AC will receive an honorary degree at this ceremony. Read Professor Marshall’s full bio.
Note: Professor Marshall will present the University’s David Maddison lecture, ‘How to win the Nobel Prize’ in the Griffith Duncan Theatre on Thursday, 4 April, from 5.45pm.
Graduate profile: First Joint Medical Program cohort to graduate
Five years of dedication will come to fruition at 10am on Friday 5 April when the first cohort of the Joint Medical Program (JMP) graduates. The JMP is an expansion of the highly successful University of Newcastle medical program in partnership with the University of the New England, Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Health and was created with the specific aim of addressing the chronic health workforce shortage that exists in remote, rural and regional communities.
The cohort includes 116 students who studied at the University of Newcastle campus, of which 72 are female and 44 are male; and of this group 29 are international students. Forty-seven students studied the JMP through the UNE Armidale campus, including 26 females and 21 males.
JMP graduate profile: Jenny proves it is never too late for a career change
Medicine student Jenny Young’s three young children were happy to be test patients for their mother when she needed to practise clinical skills such as checking blood pressure and listening to their hearts.
A physiotherapist for 11 years, it was while she was on maternity leave with her third child that Jenny decided to pursue a place in the University of Newcastle’s Joint Medical Program (JMP).
“I think my husband thought I wouldn’t get in, but he has been nothing but supportive and is incredibly proud of me.”
Unlike many people who follow in the career footsteps of family, 40-year-old Jenny grew up in a family of lawyers, accountants and teachers. Medicine had never been on her radar.
“Study the second time around has been a wonderful experience. However it is very different studying at this age compared to when I was 17. My memory isn’t quite as good as it used to be and I found I needed to start preparing for an exam weeks in advance. The positive aspect is that I study more thoroughly now.
“My children, who are aged 12, 10 and 6, thought my study was interesting. They loved the endless supply of scrap paper from my notes and would come to the library and help me research and borrow books.”
Jenny said the support from her supervisors and the many nurses, doctors and health care workers who were generous with their time and knowledge was a highlight of her five-year degree. Jenny is currently undertaking her two-year internship at Maitland Hospital.
Jenny Young will graduate at the Faculty of Health ceremony at 10am on Friday 5 April.
Graduate profile: Mother and daughter team to graduate together
It is not uncommon for children to follow in their parents’ footsteps and pursue the same professions – but for mother and daughter, Margaret and Rachel Lewis, it was the other way around.
Margaret had always wanted to study pharmacy, but due to many different circumstances had never quite made it happen. Her passion for study was reignited in 2009 when her daughter Rachel began a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and, following Rachel’s lead, Margaret enrolled in the same degree.
This Friday, Margaret and Rachel will graduate together at the Faculty of Health ceremony – Rachel with her Masters in Pharmacy and Margaret with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences.
“I have absolutely loved my studies and I am so excited to graduate at the same ceremony as Rachel,” Margaret said. “The ceremony will be very special for both of us and for the rest of our family.
Rachel and Margaret took a few second year subjects together and were thrilled to be ‘study buddies’ and discuss the subjects while sharing the note-taking burden in lectures.
“Mum is pretty much my best friend, so studying together has been an awesome experience. We often joke about opening a pharmacy together in the future, and although we have a laugh about it, I think it would be a great idea. We’d make a fantastic team!” Rachel said.
Margaret will continue again in Rachel’s footsteps by studying a Masters in Pharmacy.
Margaret and Rachel Lewis will graduate on Friday 5 April at the Faculty of Health ceremony at 10am.
Graduate profile: Inaugural Dunkley Medal to be awarded
The distinguished Dunkley Medal will be awarded on 5 April for the first time since its creation in 2010. The Dunkley Medal is awarded for “Excellence in Biomedical Research” by a student graduating with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) Degree at the University of Newcastle. The award is not necessarily presented every year, but rather on occasions of outstanding criteria-based achievement. This year the recipient is James Pinkerton.
The naming of the medal honours the contributions to research excellence made over many years to the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy by Emeritus Professor Peter Dunkley and Conjoint Professor Margaret Dunkley.
James Pinkerton will receive the Dunkley Medal at an internal School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy prizegiving ceremony on Friday 5 April. He will graduate with honours 1 standing at the 10am 5 April Faculty of Health graduation ceremony.
2pm: FACULTY OF HEALTH
Occasional speaker: Professor Joseph Sung
Professor Joseph Sung is a global leader in gastroenterological research whose work has changed the practice of gastroenterology worldwide.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) holds research interests in peptic ulcers and colorectal cancers. Together with his team, Professor Sung proved the relationship between the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and peptic ulcer diseases. The group demonstrated how to successfully treat peptic ulcers with antibiotics and minimise their relapse, and pioneered the use of endoscopic treatment for ulcer bleeding to reduce the need for surgery. Read Professor Sung’s full bio.
6pm: FACULTY OF HEALTH
Occasional speaker: Ms Amanda Adrian
Ms Amanda Adrian has more than 40 years experience in Australia’s health industry specialising in safety and quality improvement in health care, nursing, policy development, regulation and ethics.
Since 2010, Ms Adrian has held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council. She has been instrumental in establishing the national accreditation scheme for nursing and midwifery health professionals in Australia as part of the national registration and accreditation scheme for health professionals. Read Ms Adrian’s full bio.
►Saturday 6 April
10am: ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND FOUNDATION STUDIES ATTAINMENT CEREMONY
Occasional speaker: Dr Carli Westmore
Dr Carli Westmore is a graduate of the University of Newcastle’s Open Foundation program (2004), the Bachelor of Oral Health degree (2007) and the Bachelor of Medicine degree (2012).
Dr Westmore hopes to combine the best of dentistry and medicine to become a maxillofacial surgeon. Her awareness of the critical importance of oral surgery was sparked by her own painful experience where, as a child, she spent 15 years on the waiting list for an operation to reconstruct her upper jaw. Read Dr Westmore’s full bio.
Graduate profile: Enabling program opens education doors for Linda
For Canberra-born, German-bred Linda Eitelberg, the hardest thing about studying at university was finding the self-belief that she could do it.
Overcoming a psychological barrier that kept her from fulfilling her dream of further education, Ms Eitelberg made the choice to enrol in the Open Foundation program last year.
“After excelling in a TAFE course I realised I might actually have the discipline required for university study, but I just needed to be challenged,” Ms Eitelberg said.
A fascination with numbers from an early age meant maths was a natural choice for her Open Foundation course, but what Ms Eitelberg discovered during the 12-month program was a passion for physics.
“Learning how to convert questions into answers with the use of formulas was probably the hardest thing about Open Foundation, but I loved every bit of it,” she said.
Ms Eitelberg will receive the Brian Smith Memorial Prize for academic achievement and will deliver the student address at the English Language and Foundation Studies ceremony.
Ms Eitelberg lived in Australia until she was four-years-old before moving to a small village in Germany with her family until the age of 13. She was schooled in the Netherlands, before returning to Australia at the age of 18.
Linda Eitelberg will receive her Certificate of Attainment at the English Language and Foundation Studies ceremony at 10am on Saturday 6 April.
2pm: FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Occasional speaker: Dr Glenn Platt
As Theme Leader for Local Energy Systems in the CSIRO’s national research group, the Energy Transformed Flagship, Dr Platt leads a team charged with improving how energy is delivered to, and used by consumers; and with developing cost-effective technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.
Dr Platt has been instrumental in establishing the CSIRO as a key partner in EnergyAustralia's Smart Grid Smart City consortium, a $100 million Australian Government initiative to develop the first commercial scale demonstration of smart grid technology in Australia. Read Dr Platt’s full bio.
Graduate profile: Kumaran engineers perfect score
Electrical Engineering graduate and former Merewether High student Kumaran Nathan, 22, was the first Newcastle engineering student to receive 100 per cent for his final year project.
Graduating on Saturday with first class honours and the University Medal, Mr Nathan will also deliver the student address on behalf of his peers at the ceremony. After achieving a perfect score for his final work - titled ‘Design and Construction of an Advanced STATCOM for Reactive Power Control and Harmonic Cancellation’, where he designed a device that improves power quality - Mr Nathan will pursue a career in research by commencing his PhD studies in power engineering at Newcastle this year.
“Achieving 100 on my project was one of the proudest moments of my life. I put in countless hours over the year so I was expecting to do well, but to get a perfect score was completely unexpected,” Mr Nathan said.
“Throughout high school I always had a passion for maths and science. Studying at the University of Newcastle has given me the practical knowledge and skills I need to pursue a career in research to help solve real problems facing the world today.”
Mr Nathan currently works as a graduate electrical engineer at AusGrid, where his roles include designing sub stations and protection devices for electrical equipment.
Kumaran Nathan will graduate at the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment ceremony on Saturday 6 April at 2pm.