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Our Fulbright scholars celebrated

fulbright winnersParliament House reception for Jessica Walker and Sue Baker

Two University of Tasmania researchers awarded 2012 Fulbright scholarships have been congratulated at a State Parliament reception.

Dr Jessica Walker, this year’s Fulbright Tasmania Scholar – a scholarship co-sponsored by the University and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts – and Dr Sue Baker, a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, were feted at a ceremony attended by the US Consul General (Melbourne), Frank Urbancic, the Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, David O’Byrne, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen.

Prof Rathjen said that the opportunities offered by the Fulbright scheme were “deeply meaningful for the University in the context of the mission that we serve the State of Tasmania”.

“One of the great roles we play here is to link Tasmania to the world. Sometimes we do it by welcoming overseas students here to study; sometimes we do it by moving our students off the island into the rest of the world. I don’t think we do enough of this.

“I echo the comments of David [O’Byrne] - we need to have the confidence to let our best students go, to let them develop overseas and to welcome them back when they are more highly skilled than when they left us.”

Mr Urbancic urged the recipients to “do yourself proud and do your State proud”.

Dr Walker (a research fellow with the Centre for Renewable Energy and Power Systems, School of Engineering) will spend 12 months at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, starting in August. “The time is right for research into renewable technologies and I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to go and work in the US, in a completely new field for me in tidal power.”

Dr Baker, a research fellow at UTAS, said she was “very proud and very excited’ at the prospect of going to Washington State for three and a half months.

“My research here is Tasmania has focussed on a new type of logging practice called retention forestry first developed in Washington about 20 years ago. I now have the opportunity to visit the world’s oldest retention forestry sites. I’ll be out in the field collecting beetles, identifying plants – what I am hoping is to get some insights into the long-term benefits of this practice.”

Applications for 2013 Fulbright Scholarships open on June 1 this year. Visit

Caption: 2012 Fulbright scholars Dr Sue Baker (left) and Dr Jessica Walker

Published on: 03 Apr 2012 12:29pm