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Rhodes Scholars, Victorian Young Australian of the Year and Young Australian of the Year Victorian finalist celebrated with special event.


Rhodes Scholars, Victorian Young Australian of the Year and Young Australian of the Year Victorian finalist celebrated with special event.

14 February 2017

“All four of you have been recognised for what you have done, but I know that I am going to be most proud of what you will do.” With these words Monash Vice Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO concluded her address to the four MBBS graduates who were celebrated with a special event hosted at the Monash Conference Centre in Collins Street on Friday night.

The celebrations were held to mark the achievements of Rhodes Scholarship recipients, Dr Lewis Fry and Dr Connor Rochford as well the 2016 Victorian Young Australian of the Year Dr Robbie Gillies and the 2017 Victorian Young Australian of the Year finalist MBBS graduate/Law student Dr Jessica Dean.

The evening was a great opportunity to hear the remarkable young alumni speak about their passions and future plans.

Dr Lewis Fry plans to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, which revolves around the use of new technology in helping patients with blindness-causing diseases. Passionate about taking a patient-focused approach Lewis commented: “Throughout my research I want to keep what new technology can do for people at the forefront. It is important that we place the patient at the centre of everything we do.”

“Being curious, sceptical and question everything”, was how Dr Connor Rochford summed up his time at Monash. Now embarking on a Master of Philosophy in Politics (Political Theory) at Oxford, he looks forward to continue his learning to benefit the lives of others.

Dr Robbie Gillies spoke passionately about his goal to change negative attitudes towards homelessness. Inspired by ethicist Peter Singer and overseas travel, he became determined to understand poverty in Australia and co-founded the charity clothing store HoMie. “It is such a privilege to be here”, Robbie said. “I would also like to thank my friends and family for all their support.”

Witnessing close friends and colleagues in the medical profession battling mental illness inspired Dr Jessica Dean to launch a national campaign targeted at all Australian medical students. The campaign aims to decrease stigma around mental health issues, promote preventative measures and empower students to look out for their peers. Jessica: “One of the highlights in this process was speaking to Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor David Copolov and finding out that Monash already has so many plans in place and is really leading the way in improving mental health outcomes for medical students.”

The event, which was moderated by MBBS Deputy Dean Professor Michelle Leech also included speeches from Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor Christina Mitchell, and Dean of Law, Professor Bryan Horrigan. Both reflected on the achievements of the four graduates, but also congratulated those who supported them throughout their journey including parents, partners and mentors, many of whom were present on the night.