Swinburne's commitment to excellence is exemplified by the high calibre of our students. In particular I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of talent of our PhD students.
For example, last month Matthew Pace was awarded the Sir Robert Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences. Matthew is a PhD candidate working on the Australian Research Council funded project: The effects of dietary supplements on cognitive performance. His research will investigate the effects of taking the Indian herb Bacopa and the French pine bark extract Pycnogenol on cognitive performance in healthy elderly people. This is a great honour for Matthew as only two Sir Robert Menzies scholarships are given out per year.
Melissa Sgarioto recently received a PhD, after becoming the first Swinburne student to complete the Cotutelle Program - a program where students study in both Australia and France. Melissa looked into using biodegradable polymers as stents to treat cardiovascular disease with a view to replacing the current metallic stents. She completed her research at both Swinburne and the Université de Technologie de Compiègne, near Paris, and her PhD is recognised in both countries. She has since been offered a post-doctorate research position in France.
I was particularly impressed by astronomer Andy Green's achievement late last year of having his first scientific paper run on the cover of the prestigious journal Nature. During his PhD studies, Andy discovered galaxies that were thought to have last existed some 10 billion years ago. Andy's achievement is all the more remarkable as it is incredibly rare for a PhD student to be first-author on a paper published in Nature, let alone on the cover.
And demonstrating the breadth of PhD research work underway at Swinburne, I was recently made aware of the creative scholarly work undertaken by Kerry Tucker. Last month, Kerry wrote and solo-acted in five performances of Revlon & Razor Wire at La Mama's Comedy Courthouse Theatre. These performances formed a key component of her doctorate and were based on the prison sentence she served at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.
Kerry is a great example of the power of education. During the four-and-a-half years she spent in prison she transformed her life and completed a Master of Arts (Writing). She is now undertaking her PhD as well as working as a Media Studies lecturer in the Faculty of Higher Education, Lilydale.
I hope you share my vicarious pride in our students' achievements, knowing that
they are undertaking work that is making a notable contribution across a range