US Fulbright Scholars destined for Western

Four top young researchers from the United States will join Western Sydney University as 2021 Fulbright Scholars – Dr Amanda Denes from University of Connecticut, Una Corbett from Harvard University, Mallory Burrell from James Madison University, and Stephanie Niu from Stanford University.

As the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States, the Fulbright Program is aimed at increasing cultural understanding, bilateral collaboration and innovation.

Across fields of research including communication, literature, photography, and digital history, the four scholars will bring their fresh ideas and research skills to Western Sydney University over the next eighteen months.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, welcomed the new Fulbright Scholars to our University community, and said they will travel to Australia when travel regulations allow.

“The University is proud to support the Fulbright scholarship program and help further educational and research ties, and cultural exchanges between Australia and the United States,” said Professor Glover.

“I am pleased that this group of emerging researchers have chosen Western Sydney University as their academic home, and we look forward to warmly welcoming them to Australia hopefully very soon. On behalf of the University community, I wish them the very best with their respective projects and look forward to seeing the outcome of their research.”

2021 Fulbright Scholars

Dr Amanda Denes

From: University of Connecticut
Visiting: Western Sydney University’s Translational Health Research Institute
Award: Fulbright Scholar Award
Discipline: Communication

Amanda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut. She specialises in the study of interpersonal, sexual, and health communication, with a focus on communication processes related to maintaining successful relationships and the role of biology in understanding communication behaviour.

Taken together, her research aims to identify communication practices and processes in close relationships that contribute to people’s physical, psychological, and relational health. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Translational Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, Amanda will explore how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (LGBTIQ+), and heterosexual couples, in which one partner is in treatment for cancer, communicate about the effects of cancer on their relationship.

The goal of the project is to identify the specific forms of communication that contribute to individual and interpersonal well-being when managing the relational and sexual changes that accompany cancer and its treatment.

Una Corbett

From: Harvard University
Visiting: Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society
Award: Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship funded by Western Sydney University
Discipline: History and Literature

Una is a senior at the Harvard Kennedy School studying History and Literature on the American Studies track with a citation in Spanish. Her studies focus on American women’s and feminist history. She is from the New York suburbs and currently studying abroad at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, in the English and History departments.

On campus, she is a College Fellow with Resistance School, an online activist training platform run by Kennedy School graduates, and a member of the Harvard College Democrats. She is also involved in feminist advocacy work with the Seneca, Inc. and Strong Women Strong Girls, and works as a Harvard Student Agencies tutor and in the Cambridge Queenshead Pub.

Una grew her research, writing, and political organising skills in the office of the Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Mallory Burrell

From: James Madison University
Visiting: Western Sydney University’s School of Humanities and Communication Arts
Award: Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Discipline: Photography

Mallory graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in art history and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art. She recently graduated from James Madison University in 2020 with a Master of Fine Arts in intermedia studies.

Mallory is an artist that utilises her camera to record microcosms and finds intrigue in cycles of ecological life. For her Fulbright Scholarship, Mallory will investigate Sydney’s Badu Mangrove forest in the hopes of promoting mangroves as vital tools to mitigate greenhouse gas effects on the environment. She will primarily work with creative digital strategist Dr Rachel Bentley, and will receive additional support from forestry and drone specialist Associate Professor Sebastian Pfautsch.

Her research will culminate in an interactive website where users can experience life in the Badu Mangrove forest, from the micro to the macro. Mallory's art practice can be further investigated at

Stephanie Niu

From: Stanford University
Visiting: University of Sydney, Western Sydney University’s Digital Humanities Research Group, and the Shire of Christmas Island
Award: Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship
Discipline: Digital History

Stephanie Niu is a digital storyteller and poet focused on decolonising historical narratives and understanding ecological systems through digital techniques. Her work includes interactive geographic visualisations of the transcontinental railroad created for the Chinese Railroad Workers’ Project, and ‘Following the Water’, a podcast on human and animal migrations on Christmas Island.

Stephanie will use her Fulbright Scholarship to build a series of self-guided, augmented reality walking tours exploring phosphate mine labour and race relations on Christmas Island, centred around physical remnants of 20th-century island mine operations. She hopes to create a model for community-driven archives as a way of resisting colonial narratives.


14 July 2021

Media Unit