Best and brightest health students recognised with annual awards

More than 130 Monash students, across all areas of health, have recently been recognised for their outstanding academic and leadership achievements.

The annual Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences student awards acknowledge success from the preceding academic year. Deputy Dean of Education, Professor Wayne Hodgson, shared a message of congratulations to all winners.

"During these challenging times, it is important to take the opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements of our wonderful students.

Many of our 2019 prize winners will already be involved in the response to COVID-19, either from a healthcare or research perspective. Others will be joining the workforce over the next year or so. We know that they will represent proudly Monash and Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in the future.”

While the awards are typically acknowledged with a prize ceremony and networking opportunity for students, academics and prize sponsors, the formal event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. While we were unable to physically celebrate their achievements, we caught up with four of our award winners to share the stories of their success.

Monash medical student Miriam Storti

Medical student Miriam Storti won the Eastern Health Clinical School Clinical Medical and Surgery Prize and was one of the Leo Cussen Pathology Prize recipients. In 2019, she completed her clinical training at three of Eastern Health’s clinical sites.

“It was great to be able to put preclinical knowledge into action and we were given many opportunities to practice history-taking and examination”, Miriam comments.

I’m honoured and very humbled to receive these awards. I would like to thank the donors and Monash University for making it possible.”

Double-degree nursing and midwifery student, Tara Spiteri, was acknowledged for her academic performance – receiving the highest marks in her year level – and for demonstrating professional attributes in a palliative care setting. Tara was one of two recipients of the Moyra Lyons Award, established following a bequest from Moyra’s husband, Anthony. The award is dedicated to Moyra’s memory and to honour the exemplary care she received from the wonderful nurses during her four-year battle with leukaemia.⁠

Monash nursing and midwifery student Tara Spiteri“We talk a lot about how lucky we are as student midwives to help bring new life into the world, but we don’t often talk about what a privilege it is to be with patients and their families in their final moments.

End-of-life care encompasses not only the physical side of nursing, but the emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects. You can confront loss in both nursing and midwifery, and this experience showed me firsthand the importance of compassionate, coordinated interdisciplinary care”, Tara reflects.

“I feel honoured to be the recipient of these awards, particularly the Moyra Lyons Nursing award. I am so grateful to the family of Moyra Lyons for sponsoring this award in her memory, and giving nursing students the means to pursue their passion.”

Mervyn Lim won two awards for his outstanding academic performance in the first year of his Radiography and Medical Imaging degree.

His tip for other radiography students – start your assignments early!

“Starting your assignments early gives you sufficient time to prepare for them. Ensure that you’re not rushing in the end, and give yourself ample time to check and edit your work.”

Master of Social Work student Carmela OtarraRecent social work graduate, Carmela Otarra, was recognised for her achievements as an international student and her research excellence.  Her award-winning thesis explored Catholicism and social work in her home country of the Philippines.

“I gained an appreciation for how our cultures and religious beliefs can strongly influence and shape social work practice. With increasing multiculturalism around the world, it is important more than ever to understand how we can connect with and assist people who come from different backgrounds and provide effective service amidst these differences.” Carmela explains.

“My research allowed me to be curious and ask more questions, which can pave the way to future research projects that improve social work practice.”

Congratulations to all our winners. View the full list of 2019 Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences award recipients.