The University of Newcastle, Australia

National Council of Women recognise student achievements

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Students making an impact in health and history 

Three exceptional University of Newcastle research students have been recognised as inspiring leaders in their field, with an Australia Day Honour from the National Council of Women (NCW) of NSW.

National Council of Women Award Recipients
Katherine Smith (3rd from left), Laura Greaves (centre) and Natalie Cheesmond (3rd from right) at the National Council of Women's Awards. (c) Michael Mannington, Community Photography.

Natalie Cheesmond, Laura Greaves and Katherine Smith represented three of the 12 women across NSW awarded for their achievements in research.

The annual award recognises talented young women from a range of backgrounds and research fields as part of NCW NSW’s continuing commitment to social justice and women’s welfare, aiming to elevate the role of women in society.

The University congratulates these outstanding scholars on their wonderful success:

Natalie Cheesmond – Rural Health

From the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Natalie is currently completing her thesis which addresses the important topic of mental health help-seeking for people living in rural Australia. It recognises that people living in rural parts of Australia tend to delay access to mental health support more than their urban counterparts and explores the barriers experienced by rural NSW residents that cause these delays in help-seeking.

Through her research she strives to give a voice to, and accurately present, the perspectives of rural Australian in relation to mental health help-seeking. Natalie said she was extremely honoured to receive such an award.

Katherine Smith – Women’s History

Katherine has just completed Honours (1st) in Modern History in the School of Humanities and Social Science in the Faculty of Education and Arts with her thesis examining military, media, and government responses to women ('amateurs') who had relationships with soldiers on the First World War home front. Her study intends to build an enriched understanding of the amateur, moral censure, and women's agency in Australian history.

Katherine, who graduated in 2015 with an Arts / Secondary Education double degree, said she was really grateful to be acknowledged by the National Council of Women (NSW) in receiving this award.

“The support of the Council is crucial to me as I move forward in my studies. The Awards demonstrate the importance of a continued commitment to women's issues in contemporary Australia.  The precedent of encouragement and support that the NCW sets for young scholars is invaluable,” she said.


Laura Greaves – Women’s History

Laura is in her first year of her PhD in English with the School of Humanities and Social Science in the Faculty of Education and Arts. She is writing the first book about the life of Caroline Collits, a child bride who was murdered in the Blue Mountains in 1842 and later immortalised as the titular Ghost at the Second Bridge in Henry Lawson's poem.

She is also researching the portrayal of women in true crime writing and investigating why the lives of female victims of crime are so often deemed to have less literary value than their deaths.

Laura said she was thrilled to receive the award, particularly because she has arrived at a PhD without a traditional academic background.

“This award was a really nice validation of my project and my research skills. I think awards like this are important because they recognise that there are barriers for women in postgraduate education; it was really lovely to see such diversity among the 16 award recipients,” she said.


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