Inaugural Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars Announced

Jul 7, 2021 | Announcements, News & Media

Twenty exceptional young Australians awarded funding of up to AUD$85,000 p.a. to study at the world’s best overseas universities.

Sydney, Wednesday 07 July 2021: The Ramsay Centre is proud to announce the inaugural recipients of our Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship – twenty outstanding, thoughtful, imaginative young Australians, committed to advancing a richer and deeper understanding of our civilisation through study at the world’s best overseas universities.

Our twenty scholars will be supported with funding of up to AUD$85,000 p.a for one, two and in select cases three years of coursework and/or research, in one of the most generous scholarships on offer to Australian students. It is expected that the scholars, already community leaders and high achievers in their respective fields, will go on to make significant contributions to Australian society in their chosen careers.

The 2021 Ramsay Postgraduate scholars include: a PhD candidate researching high-achieving schools in socially disadvantaged areas, who aspires to lead Australia’s effort to close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students; a former infantry soldier, Afghanistan and East Timor veteran turned lawyer, who has established programs to assist veterans transition to careers outside the military; and a trained surgeon and doctor seeking to increase access to surgical, obstetric and critical healthcare in austere settings, including in Australia’s indigenous communities and in the Asia Pacific.

Also among our new scholars is a historian from rural NSW examining the changing relationship between Britain and the Dominions, including Australia, at the Imperial Conferences; a civil and architectural engineering graduate passionate about restoring the traditions of architectural design and practice, as they were prior to the 20th century; an economist determined to find ways to use economic policies to address Australia’s mental health crisis; and a classical musician completing a PhD on 19th century vocal and violin performance practices, who runs a podcast and concert series with the purpose of sharing classical music with the wider community in an engaging way.

Approximately 100 students applied for the scholarship, with a pre-requisite that they had already been accepted into a graduate program at a world-leading overseas institution.

The scholars have been awarded funding from one of two scholarship categories:

  • the World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, for graduate study at a prestigious overseas university of their choosing, or
  • the St John’s College, Annapolis, Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, for study of the Master of Arts in the Liberal Arts at this acclaimed US liberal arts college, as well as participation in an internship program in Washington DC.

The cohort of scholars will embark on study in a range of disciplines including physics, law, architecture, educational leadership, public policy, music, history, English literature, economics, and international relations. Their study destinations include the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, New York University, Harvard University, Leiden University, University of Notre Dame Indiana, as well as St John’s College, Annapolis. 

The scholars were selected by a panel of eminent Australians chaired by NSW Solicitor General Michael Sexton SC and including members of the Ramsay Centre Executive and Board. Selection criteria included strength of character, leadership, and service; academic achievement; future goals; and a commitment to advancing a richer and deeper understanding of our civilisation.

The scholarships have been made possible through the extraordinary generosity of our founder and benefactor, the late Paul Ramsay AO. Paul Ramsay founded Ramsay Healthcare, now one of the largest private hospital operators, and was also a regional television pioneer, building stations that today form the Prime Television Network.

Known as a ‘man for others’ Paul Ramsay always wanted to give back to his country and fellow Australians and had a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunities Australia had afforded him, as one of many countries that had benefited from being part of the long continuum of Western civilisation. He wanted younger Australians to share that appreciation by learning more about our heritage and to take the lead in passing that knowledge onto others.

These scholarships in his name support our future leaders to do just that, by supporting their graduate study at the world’s best overseas universities.   

For more information on our Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships and how to apply visit: https://www.ramsaycentre.org/scholarships-courses/postgraduate-scholarships/

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098 / sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org

For more information on the centre please visit our website: www.ramsaycentre.org

2021 Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars

World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars

MATTHEW BLACKER

Master in Theoretical Physics – University of Cambridge

Matthew Blacker is an ultramarathon runner, mentor and physicist challenging understanding of the most fundamental theories of reality. He recently graduated with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Philosophy (Science) from the Australian National University (ANU) and works at the University, teaching undergraduate physics and conducting research. To attend ANU, Matthew moved from Perth to ANU’s Bruce Hall, a community he served as Secretary and Senior Resident, whilst thriving on the arts scene and ANU’s 100km navigational adventure Inward Bound. As part of his physics study, he completed research into quantum gravity, cold atoms and plasma physics.  With his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Matthew will study a Master in Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge to deepen his understanding of our greatest theories of the universe, while sharing his passions for running, ethics and podcasting with fellow students.

ROSEANNA BRICKNELL

Bachelor of Civil Law – University of Oxford

Roseanna Bricknell works as a Senior Lawyer (A/g) specialising in competition law and technology regulation with the Australian Government Solicitor, based in Sydney. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience) and Laws from the Australian National University, where she graduated with First Class Honours and the highest results in her final year cohort. Her research looked at the public policy implications of and potential legal responses to employer-sponsored oocyte cryopreservation, and won the 2015 Gender Institute Prize for Excellence in Gender Research for Best Honours Thesis. With her World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Roseanna will undertake the Bachelor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford, where she will focus her study on jurisprudence, effective regulation and civil rights. She is passionate about women’s rights, bioethics and tech. She hopes to use her study to contribute to the field of digital platforms regulation.

MARGOT HOLBERT

Master of Architecture – University of Notre Dame Indiana

Margot Holbert is from Gawler in South Australia, near the Barossa Valley and discovered her passion for Gothic and Classical architecture after a year in the UK working at a Catholic boarding school in the North Yorkshire Moors. Upon her return to Australia, she undertook a Bachelor of Civil and Architectural Engineering at the University of Adelaide, graduating with First Class Honours. With her World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Margot will undertake the Master of Architecture program at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the premier school dedicated to the teaching of architectural design with a focus on classical architecture and the architecture of subsequent centuries of western and Christian civilisation. Margot is deeply passionate about restoring the traditions of architectural design and practice, as they were prior to the 20th century. In her spare time, she is a choral singer, tap dancer, and painter.

JACK HUME

PhD in Philosophy – University College London

Jack Hume graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (First Class Honours) from the University of Sydney in 2017. He then worked at The Ethics Centre, advising leading Australian organisations on pressing ethical issues. Jack grew up in Sydney’s inner west, is a percussionist, and is passionate about disability services and equality of access to the arts. He is currently completing a Master of Philosophy in Philosophy at University College London (UCL), and his thesis concerns the value of the arts to a liberal society. Following this, Jack will use his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to pursue a PhD at UCL. In his PhD, he plans to develop a justification for government funding of the arts in the face of scarce resources and competing needs. In the future Jack would like to work across philosophy and public policy and to use his research to help drive changes that make the arts more accessible to all Australians.

BLAISE JOSEPH

PhD in Educational Leadership – New York University

Blaise Joseph is a first-year PhD student in Educational Leadership at New York University whose research interest is high-achieving schools in socially disadvantaged areas. He is a former secondary school teacher with experience in both public and private schools and recently worked as an education policy researcher at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney. Blaise has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (with a Co-op Scholarship) and a Master of Teaching from The University of New South Wales. Blaise is originally from Canberra and is currently living in New York City. His interests include American and European history, classical literature, politics, and rugby league. With his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Blaise will complete his PhD at New York University. In the future Blaise wants to be an educational researcher in Australia and lead the effort in closing the achievement gap for disadvantaged students.

TARINEE KUCCHAL

Master of Public Policy – Harvard University

Dr Tarinee Kuchal is a medical practitioner and public health professional from Melbourne who obtained her medical degree from Monash University and has worked at the Austin and Alfred Hospitals. She is passionate about global health systems strengthening, last-mile service delivery, cancer screening and prevention, innovative financing for healthcare, and global health diplomacy. She is currently completing a Master of Public Health at the University of Queensland and simultaneously works as the first Australian research fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, where she focusses on increasing access to surgical, obstetric and critical care in austere settings.  With her World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, she will pursue a Master of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, to equip her to translate her public health research into real-world change, with particular focus on Australia’s indigenous communities and the Asia Pacific.  In her spare time Tarinee enjoys travelling, hiking, and tennis.

DANIEL MCKAY

PhD in History – University of Cambridge

Daniel McKay is from rural NSW and grew up on his family’s dairy and cattle farm, just outside of Bathurst. He spent a year working at St. Paul’s School in London and touring the UK before undertaking undergraduate study at the Australian National University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws, both with first class honours. He was a researcher in the Parliamentary Library in the Law and Bills Digest section and for the Country Education Foundation before moving to the University of Cambridge where he completed a Master of Philosophy in World History and began a PhD in History examining the changing relationship between Britain and the Dominions, including Australia, at the Imperial Conferences. Daniel will use his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to complete his PhD in History and in the future hopes to work as a historian and contribute to public life.  He is an avid amateur artist and has acquired a new passion for far-meandering country walks during lockdown.

DRUMMOND ORR

Master of Philosophy in Economics – University of Oxford

Drummond Orr is a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours in Economics) graduate from Perth who works as a business analyst at Oqea, an innovative mental wellbeing digital platform. He was awarded his degree at the University of Melbourne, which he attended on a Chancellor’s Scholarship, after he became one of the first people in WA to achieve a perfect IB Diploma Score. In 2020 he was the top Economics Honours student and won the Jean Polglaze Memorial Prize for best Economics Honours essay. Drummond has extensive work experience in healthcare innovation and is passionate about using economics to address Australia’s mental health crisis. He believes we can learn a lot from the pioneering economists who have made a lasting impact on Western civilisation. With his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Drummond will undertake a Master of Philosophy in Economics degree at the University of Oxford and in the future hopes to create economic policies to improve mental health outcomes, possibly through the creation of his own think tank. Drummond is an avid runner, having completed two half marathons.

JAMES RIGBY

Bachelor of Civil Law – University of Oxford

James Rigby is a community-minded lawyer, currently working as a solicitor at Australian and international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. He was Valedictorian and received the University Medal for the Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Queensland, where he also completed the Bachelor of Economics. With his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, James will undertake a Bachelor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford. He intends to use this postgraduate study to consolidate and enhance his legal reasoning skills and knowledge, providing a foundation to achieve success as an advocate and leader, both within the profession and, in the future, in public life. James is a keen debater and has held the positions of President and Executive of the Queensland Debating Union, a registered charity which promotes debating as an organised activity in Queensland schools. At the University of Oxford, he plans to continue pursuing his interests in competitive debating and politics.

MATTHEW SHARP

Master of Law – University of Cambridge

Matthew Sharp is a former infantry soldier, an East Timor veteran, and an Afghanistan veteran who holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University, and was recently awarded a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from The College of Law. He has been a New Colombo Plan Scholar and Griffith Honours College Scholar. He is co-founder of the charity, the Australian Student Veterans Association, and currently works as a solicitor and the Veteran’s Network co-chair at Herbert Smith Freehills in Brisbane. With his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Matthew will study a Master of Law degree at the University of Cambridge to expand his intellectual and professional horizons. Matthew is an amateur artist having completed five abstract canvas paintings from scratch. 

ERIC SHENG

Bachelor of Philosophy in Philosophy – University of Oxford

Eric Sheng grew up in Sydney. He attended the University of Sydney for a semester before moving to the University of Oxford where he studied for a B.A. in History and Politics (completed 2020). He is currently studying for a Master in Philosophy at Oxford. His main academic interests are in ethics, social and political philosophy, and the history of modern philosophy. Outside philosophy, his interests include history, literature, folk and classical music, and Australian politics. He recently appeared on the television quiz show BBC University Challenge as the captain of his college team. Eric is also the current President of the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles. Eric will use his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to continue his Bachelor of Philosophy in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. In the future Eric hopes to become a philosopher, researching and teaching at a university.

STEPHANIE SHON

Doctor of Philosophy in Music – University of Oxford

Musicologist Stephanie Shon is from Victoria’s Yarra Valley and holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in flute performance from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, the University of Melbourne. She is an Academic Tutor and Research Assistant at the Melbourne Conservatorium where she is also in the final stages of a Master of Music (Research). Stephanie recently submitted her master’s thesis, which examines the compositions of Australian composer Larry Sitsky. With her World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Stephanie will commence a Doctor of Philosophy in Music at the University of Oxford. Her thesis will examine how Australian classical music composition was affected by sociocultural developments in the 1960s–1990s. An avid dressage enthusiast, Stephanie also enjoys cooking, and walking her Tibetan Spaniel. In the future Stephanie hopes to work in academia, as well as examining how her research can be applied within the cultural sector.

DAVID THRELFALL

Master of Philosophy/PhD in Media and Communications – The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

David Threlfall is from Melbourne and is currently a Master of Philosophy/PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he is writing a doctorate on British political rhetoric. He holds a Master of Philosophy in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with distinction and was top ranked in the cohort. Previously, David completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Diploma of Languages at the University of Melbourne, where he graduated with first class honours and was twice named on the Dean’s Honours List. When not committed full time to research, David has worked as chief of staff at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), and in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the University of Melbourne. David will use his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to complete his PhD at the LSE. After his doctoral study David aspires to become an academic teaching politics and political communication, and to work in university leadership.

CHELSEA WALLIS

Doctorate in Philosophy in Law – University of Oxford

Chelsea Wallis holds numerous degrees and qualifications in business, the humanities, and education from the University of the Sunshine Coast Queensland, the University of Queensland, and the University of New England. She is currently completing a Masters in Law (Bachelor of Civil Law) at the University of Oxford.  She is passionate about interdisciplinary research across law, philosophy, political science and social policy. Previously Chelsea was a secondary teacher and boarding-house mother in the Southern Highlands, NSW, where she taught English, French and Latin as well as convening the Cambridge Global Perspectives IGCSE course and co-ordinating Gifted & Talented programmes. In particular, she coached Da Vinci Decathlon teams and chaired the Hypatian Society and Readers’ Guild, which she established. With her World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Chelsea will progress to doctoral study at Oxford, undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy in Law. In addition to her studies Chelsea is a writer, ballet dancer and a keen musician.

TOBY WARDEN

Master in Philosophy in Modern Chinese Studies – University of Oxford

Toby Warden is a Research Associate in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. He graduated with a Bachelor of International and Global Studies from the University of Sydney where he majored in international relations and completed a thesis on why authoritarian states fail in insurgency wars. With his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Toby will pursue a Master of Philosophy in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford, with a focus on China’s foreign and security policy and Asian security. In the future, Toby hopes to work in the areas of strategic affairs and international security. In his spare time, Toby is an avid kayaker and enjoys reading Cold War literature.

ROHAN WATT

Doctorate in Philosophy in International Relations – University of Oxford

Rohan Watt is from Ayr, North Queensland and is completing the Master of Philosophy in International Relations at the University of Oxford. His MPhil was supported by the Governor Phillip Scholarship. Prior to Oxford, he was admitted as a Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Queensland while working in the private office of the Australian Attorney-General; and spent a short time at St Paul’s College, the University of Sydney assisting with cultural renewal. Rohan holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts with first class honours from the University of Queensland.  Rohan will use his World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to continue at Oxford to the Doctorate in Philosophy in International Relations, continuing his research on the evolving nature of international lawmaking in matters of international peace and security. When in North Queensland, his hobbies include freediving and spearfishing; at Oxford he has tried his hand at new hobbies – most successfully in clay pigeon shooting, where he competed in a competition against Cambridge (with mixed results!).

EMMA WILLIAMS

PhD in Artistic Research – Leiden University

Violinist Emma Williams tours internationally, having performed in the Royal Albert Hall, Het Concertgebouw, all major Australian concert venues, and remote Ecuadorian rainforests. Raised in Darwin, she sang in national youth choirs before completing her Bachelor of Music (Honours) at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and Master of Early Music at Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag. Passionate about engaging and connecting with audiences, in 2018 Emma co-founded the concert series, MusicBox, and podcast, Outside the MusicBox. Emma will use her World Universities Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to fund her PhD at Leiden University on 19th-century vocal and violin performance practices. After her PhD, Emma hopes to continue creating inviting and engaging spaces to share classical music with the wider community. When not performing, Emma loves hiking, reading, knitting, and cooking. 

St John’s College, Annapolis, Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars

MARK ACEBO

Master of Arts in Liberal Arts – St John’s College, Annapolis

Mark Acebo holds degrees in Commerce/Law from Curtin University. He received the EY Law Prize as the top graduating student of his double degree and the Mainfreight Scholarship for high achievement in his commerce degree. Mark completed part of his legal studies at Ghent University in Belgium. Mark started his career at Deloitte Perth as a Business Tax Advisory vacationer. After graduating, he worked for the Department of Defence’s Capability and Acquisition Sustainment Group (CASG) in Canberra and Melbourne, providing commercial advice to some of the Australian Defence Force’s largest and most complex procurement projects. He now works with economists at the Department of Treasury and Finance Victoria to improve the Victorian regulatory system. With his St John’s College, Annapolis, Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Mark will undertake the College’s renowned two-year Master of Arts in the Liberal Arts (MALA) degree and will be mentored to secure and participate in an internship in an area of interest in Washington DC. In the future Mark hopes to work in foreign affairs or public sector consulting. Outside of work, Mark trains at the St Kilda Boxing Club and is an avid guitarist and traveller.

BENJAMIN CROCKER

Master of Arts in Liberal Arts – St John’s College, Annapolis

Ben is from rural North Queensland and holds a Bachelor of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium, and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching from the University of Southern Queensland. In 2016, Ben joined the staff of The King’s School in Sydney as a resident boarding master and Head of Bands. Ben has lectured at the University of Sydney, where he is also currently completing his Master of Music. Ben has performed throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States, and is a fellow of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s Australian Conducting Academy. He is currently conducting an album of new Australian music for the ABC. Ben is passionate about improving the musical literacy of communities, particularly in rural and regional areas. With his St John’s College, Annapolis, Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Ben will undertake the College’s renowned two-year Master of Arts in the Liberal Arts (MALA) degree and be mentored to secure and participate in an internship in an area of interest in Washington DC. He hopes to deepen his understanding of the Western intellectual tradition, and better position himself as an advocate for a pragmatic arts and education policy that serves the needs of modern Australian society.

JORDAN HILL

Master of Arts in Liberal Arts – St John’s College, Annapolis

Jordan Hill holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and English, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History from the University of Western Australia and currently works as a self-taught Graduate Java Developer at an established small business. His Honours thesis examined identity within the context of Medieval Welsh literary magic and sparked his interest in humanities research. With his St John’s College, Annapolis, Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, Jordan will undertake the College’s renowned two-year Master of Arts in the Liberal Arts (MALA) degree and will be mentored to secure and participate in an internship in an area of interest in Washington DC. Jordan loves playing guitar and is an active member of Perth’s vibrant local music community.