Western Sydney University scholars receive 2020 Fulbright Scholarships

Western Sydney University is pleased to celebrate its latest scholars who have been awarded prestigious Fulbright Scholarships by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Professor James Arvanitakis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Graduate Studies), together with PhD candidates Hamid Sediqi and Caroline Hendy, were presented with their scholarships at a Presentation Gala Dinner at Parliament House, Canberra on 27 February.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover AO congratulated each of the scholars and recognised their contribution to international research collaboration.

“Western Sydney University is a longstanding supporter of the Fulbright Program. We are pleased James, Hamid and Caroline will extend the reach of our University as a globally-focused and research-led institution, while strengthening ties between the United States and Australia,” said Professor Glover.

Professor Arvanitakis, who received the Fulbright Scholar Award (funded by the University of Wyoming) last year, will be presented with his Award in 2020. He will continue working with the University of Wyoming in a facilitation of teaching and research capacity.

Hamid Sediqi, who received a Fulbright Future Scholarship, is researching tissue engineering and will spend ten months at Tufts University, Massachusetts, working with a world-leading team in molecular developmental bioelectricity, exploring how cell nuclear-membrane properties affect the activation of genes during embryo development. As an avid science communicator, Hamid is also a producer and host of BLab Coats – a documentary-style science and research podcast series.

Caroline Hendy, who received a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, will focus on gaining experience in language and education in community-centred linguistics as well as expanding her skills to provide valuable contributions to mother-tongue and bilingual education programs. She has a particular interest in the educational experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States of America, aimed at increasing bi-national research collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.

2020 Fulbright scholars

Professor James Arvanitakis

From: Western Sydney University
Visiting: University of Wyoming, Milward L. Simpson Visiting Professor
Award: Fulbright Scholar Award (funded by University of Wyoming)

“Being awarded a Fulbright Fellowship is an amazing opportunity. I have been able to gain a deep understanding of US politics and culture and engage with faculty and students who are looking to move beyond partisanship politics to find solutions to some of contemporary society’s grand challenges.”

“The focus of my research is to learn from lessons – both good and bad – from our respective political systems. It is through such deep engagement that we can confront and respond to the issues that have created fractures in our community and find ways to compromise and respond.”

“Wyoming is often referred to as a ‘flyover state’ but it has a rich history combined with a physical beauty and a vibrant public art and cultural scene,” said Professor Arvanitakis.

Hamid Sediqi

From: Western Sydney University
Visiting: Tufts University
Award: Fulbright Future Scholarship
Discipline: Tissue engineering

“Tissue engineering is one of the keys that will open the doors of immortality for humans. My research focuses on how electricity is involved in the development process to enable us to replace any of the body’s organs.”

“Visiting Tufts University will empower me to work with world leaders in the field of Molecular Development Bioelectricity. I will be able to draw on their expertise and have access to their world-leading facilities to tackle some of the big questions in my field.”

“As a passionate science communicator, I’m looking forward to meeting people abroad and bringing back new ideas as a host, editor and producer at BLab Coats –  a documentary-style science and research podcast,” said Hamid.

Caroline Hendy

From: Western Sydney University
Award: Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Discipline: Linguistics and education

“Research into the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, especially those who speak a language other than English at home, is extremely important and is an area I would like to contribute to.”

“My past research has looked at the sound system of a language called Light Warlpiri –  a mixed language with input from English, Warlpiri and a newer Aboriginal language called Kriol. I have been working for several years on creating an online course teaching Kriol to English speakers with the Ngukurr Language Centre.”

“My scholarship will support me during the first two years of a PhD in the US, to form the foundation of my graduate education. I hope to take courses not just in linguistics and education but also in related areas such as statistics and psychology,” said Caroline.


28 February 2020

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer