October graduation ceremony welcomes next generation of Monash alumni

Over 400 graduates were welcomed to the Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences alumni community on Monday October 28 at Robert Blackwood Hall. As part of the celebrations, distinguished alumni Dr Sally Cockburn and David Peake returned to Clayton to give graduation addresses.

Dr Cockburn holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (class of 1982) and currently hosts 3AW’s Talking Health, as well as working in general practice and as an adjunct senior lecturer in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. David Peake is an organisational psychologist and founder of business consultancy, i-Adapt. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology from Monash.

Completing a PhD could be likened to a marathon. In the past 12 months, Dr Matt Snelson has done both. This week, he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy and recently ran the Melbourne marathon with Team Monash, raising money for asylum seeker scholarships.

Monash graduate Dr Matt Snelson“I've been very lucky to receive government assistance during my tertiary education, which those seeking asylum aren't eligible for. I hope that the funds I raised will contribute to making a meaningful difference to someone's education and life.”

Having completed his PhD on the effects of a processed diet on gut homeostasis, Matt is continuing his work in the Department of Diabetes as a Research Fellow.

“I'm now conducting a human trial looking at prebiotics in patients with diabetic kidney disease. This work builds on my PhD, which was conducted in animal models, and is a way to translate the fundamental research findings I made during my PhD into meaningful outcomes for patients.”

Singaporean graduate Alvin Surya Tjahyo is already putting his Master of Dietetics to work. He’s working clinically as a dietitian in his home country and aspires to work in endocrine nutrition. Looking back on his studies, one achievement stands out:

“Being awarded the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) Most Outstanding Student award was definitely an achievement that I was most proud of. I was deeply honoured to have been recognised and nominated by my lecturers as well as other staff at the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food.”

For Sadman Bhuiyan, who graduated with a Master of Biomedical and Health Science, the Monash experience was all about connections.

“I believe the greatest highlight from my time at Monash is the people. The connections I made during my master’s degree with my professors, industry experts, colleagues, and friends are what is most valuable to me.”

Professional volleyballer Sophie Paine spent the first year of her Master of Occupational Therapy Practice degree balancing sport, study and placement.  She valued the support offered to her through the Elite Student Performer Scheme. Monash graduate Sophie Paine

“It's always a great privilege when you have the support of your institution to pursue extracurricular activities because it shows that they are genuinely student-focused and really care about you as a whole person, not just as a student. The support that I received from both staff and the Occupational Therapy master’s cohort was really amazing and it's certainly something that doesn't happen everywhere, so I will always be really grateful for their guidance and patience with me, especially during the first semester.”

Sophie is now working as a locum occupational therapist at Eastern Health and hopes to transition into a grade 1 OT program in 2020.

Medicine alumna Dr Gillian Singleton returned to her alma mater to complete her Master of Public Health – a long-term goal on her to-do list.  Dr Singleton is currently the medical director of the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub in Brunswick, and co-founder of health tech start-up in2health.

“As a GP I’ve spent many years being on the coal face supporting individuals to be happier and healthier, whilst often feeling frustrated recognising the broader social, environmental and policy context that needed to be changed to improve and sustain their health. The knowledge I gained through my studies has given me a very different perspective on health and the language and confidence to be better equipped to take on new challenges”, she reflects.

“I’m so grateful for the perspective and friendships that my MPH has given me.  I’ve completely changed the direction of my career in the 5 years since undertaking the MPH and wouldn’t have done this without the knowledge and confidence that come with completing this Masters.  It was a long road balancing work, family and study but so worth it.  Here’s to making a difference!”

These October graduates join our growing alumni network of over 50,000 members spanning more than 90 countries, making a difference to health worldwide. Congratulations to all our new graduates and welcome to the Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Alumni community.

If you’re a Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences alumni, please connect with us and join the Monash MNHS Alumni LinkedIn group.

Monash graduate Sadman Bhuiyan Monash graduates Dr Gillian Singleton and Alvin Tjhayo