La Trobe staff recognised at awards ceremony

La Trobe’s annual Staff Awards event was held on Tuesday 6 December. The Vice-Chancellor’s Cultural Quality Awards, Research Awards and Education Awards recognise the extraordinary efforts and achievements made by the La Trobe staff community throughout the past 12 months.

The full list of award recipients are as follows:

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards

Excellence in Research - Early Career
Awardee: Dr Pamali Fonseka, (School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment)
Citation: Dr Fonseka is developing a novel treatment for metastatic cancer with the use of milk-derived packages, an agent with anti-cancer properties. These drug-loaded packages will enhance the delivery and treatment response, limiting the harsh side effects and ultimately result in positive impact on the quality of life of cancer patients. Dr Fonseka has recently been awarded a highly competitive NHMRC Investigator Grant to fund future research.

Excellence in Research – Mid Career
Awardee: Dr Yuning Hong, (Associate Professor School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment)
Citation:  This award is in recognition of Dr Hong’s research contributions in the discipline of chemical biology. In response to knowledge and technology gaps, Dr Hong has developed a series of innovative chemical tools and methodologies that have been adopted widely used by the research community to better understand fundamental biological questions and their implications in diseases. Dr Hong is internationally recognised for their work, publishing 49 papers in the last six years, and co-authoring a further 24. Dr Hong is an ARC Future Fellow and the recipient of the prestigious Le Fèvre Medal from Australian Academy of Science 2022.

Excellence in Research Impact
Awardee: Timothy Jones and team, including Dr Jennifer Power, Tiffany Jones, Nathan Despott, Dr Joel Anderson, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli and Percy Gurtler from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Citation: for their high impact work on the harm caused by LGBTQA+ conversion practices and the human rights of communities affected by these approaches.
The team’s research is recognised both in Australia and internationally. Their work has pioneered new ground in the field by initiating much needed difficult conversations. Their work has resulted in tangible and visible societal change. Their multi-disciplinary approach and clear focus has seen them secure Category 1 funding to progress their research and further maximise its impact. The team has been invited to present their research to the UN Human Rights Counsel, as well as international NGOs and jurisdictions investigating law reform in this space.

Excellence in Industry Engagement
Awardee:  Professor Helen McLachlan, (School of Nursing and Midwifery)
Citation: In recognition of her ability to partner effectively to conduct impactful research with direct societal benefits. Professor McLachlan’s award-winning work demonstrates the value of industry-engaged research through contribution towards significant knowledge transfer, student employability and research translation.
Professor McLachlan’s work presents a culturally responsive midwifery model with direct community benefits through impact to nursing mothers and demonstrated positive outcomes. Her work has resulted in strong links with hospitals, which has the potential to build future employability and placement opportunities through developing a strong brand.

Excellence in Graduate Supervision
Awardee: Professor Karla Helbig (School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment)
Citation: Professor Helbig fosters an exceptional intellectual climate within their research group and broader discipline. They have a reflective supervision style that encourages each graduate researcher to thrive. This is attested by glowing testimonials from candidates that commend Professor Helbig’s absolute commitment to an excellent candidate experience, and the generation of a strong sense of belonging through her supervision. Professor Helbig’s candidates achieve considerable success, each publishing regularly in high quality journals and becoming very effective contributors to their fields both nationally and internationally.

Vice-Chancellor’s Education Awards

Early Career Teaching Award:  Dr Jabed Chowdhury (School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences)
Citation: Show me how to hack! Developing a learning environment that simulates real-life cybersecurity problems to train job ready graduates using gamification and industry collaboration.

Early Career Teaching Award:  Hosu Ryu (School of Nursing and Midwifery)
Citation: Helping future nurses and midwives to "see the person, not the diagnosis" when caring for people experiencing mental illness.

Early Career Teaching Award:  Jason Buccheri (La Trobe Rural Health School)
Citation: The Pharmacy game – putting students in the control of their pharmacy and their learning and building students’ identity and professional capacity through authentic gamification.

Teaching Award: Dr Richard Fernandez (School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment)
Citation: Innovative and creative use of drawing and demonstrations to engage and support student learning, leading to improved spatial orientation and comprehension of topographic anatomy.

Teaching Award: Dr Tarryn Phillips (School of Humanities and Social Sciences)
Citation: For inspiring legal studies students about careers in social justice through an engaged, critical and trauma-informed pedagogy.

Teaching Award: Dr Mary Grant (School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport)
Citation: For establishing a foundation from which to enhance the student experience, professionalism and graduate outcomes through quality teaching and industry partnerships to strengthen student learning.

Teaching Award and Educational Impact Award: Dr Jennifer Jones (Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences)
Citation:  For place-based and transformative pedagogy that assists students to recognise historic diversity and respectfully negotiate competing interpretations of contemporary rurality and Indigeneity.

Accessibility and Inclusion (nominated by students)
Dr Anne Southall, School of Education, Dr Tobias Barkley, School of Law, Dr Ben Habib, Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, Clare O’Donoghue, Student Advisor, Dr Daniel Bray, Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, Dr Anne-Maree Sawyer, Department of Social Inquiry, Dr Jabed Chowdhury, Department Computer Science & Information Technology, Dr Keir Strickland, Department of Archaeology and History, Dr Quinn Eades, School of Humanities, Dr Jess Ison, Judith Lumley Centre, Professor John Dewar AO, Vice-chancellor, Dr Karlene Scheller, Department of Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacy, Dr Michael O’Keefe, Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, Dr Robert Horvath, Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, Teagan Kucianski, Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Tim Burke, Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Melanie Tassos, Department of Public Health, Dr Kymberley Barbary, School of Education
Citation: For academic members of staff who have gone above and beyond to actively welcome students to La Trobe University, fostered an inclusive learning environment, assisted students to implement academic adjustments and created a curriculum that includes more than one way for students to learn and show their understanding.

Professional Excellence Awards

Professional Rising Star
Awardee:  Marcella Bulic
Citation:  Marcella is based in the Recruitment and International Operations Division. Marcella showed exceptional commitment and initiative when planning and developing the Albury-Wodonga Open Day event. Marcella was collaborative and innovate throughout the development of the event, which was delivered very successfully on the day.

Professional Staff Excellence
Awardee:   Georgina Caruana
Citation:  Based in the Research Office, Georgina passionately manages the Fellowship Support Program which helps early-mid career women researchers through coaching and mentoring support. The bespoke program has successfully led La Trobe to securing three fellowships worth $3.8 million dollars.

Professional Team Excellence
Awardee:   Result Enhancements Project Team - Prue Kasby, Sigalle Swieca, Jo Sedgman, Debbie Hall, Megan McKenzie, Brian Dunell
Citation:  The team conceptualised, created and implemented a bespoke automated solution for Academic Staff to submit, review and approve student results. The solution is now being used by over 750 staff across the University and has saved an estimated 13,500 annual hours of manual and duplicate effort when submitting results.

Professional Staff Leadership
Awardee: Stella Xue
Citation:  Based in La Trobe's Student Administration division. Stella's inspiring, present and authentic leadership resulted in the delivery of complex projects, such as the new student system platform, with efficiency and ease, all leading to an improved student experience.

Strategic Priority Awards

Community Impact & Engagement
Awardee: Bradford Shepparton Pathways Program - Cherie Dyde, Monga Mukasa, Kenya McKay, Rikke Mazzella
Citation:  The Program builds on La Trobe University’s proud history of regional education. The team demonstrated great agility in shifting between virtual and in-person delivery in the face of Covid-19 disruptions which resulted in the highest ever record of students being on track to attend University.

Graduate Excellence
Awardee: Dr Gabriel Caluzzi
Citation:  Based in the School of Psychology and Public Health, Dr Caluzzi has impacted and significantly contributed to research on understanding young people’s alcohol consumption. He has published 19 peer-reviewed articles, one book chapter and his work has been cited more than 150 times, ensuring a far-reaching impact of his work while also building CAPR and La Trobe's research reputation.

Vice-Chancellor’s Cultural Qualities Awards

Awardee:  The Procurement Operations Team - Doug Visser, William Tarry, Teresa Bruzzese, Wilrose Tabada, Kala Balendran, Samudhya Rathnayake Mudiyanselage, Damian Buzza, Paul Davies, Austin Wilcox
Citation:  For their management of the Clubs Program. The team have adapted systems and new ways of working that are student-focused, responded quickly to students needs and dealt with increased workloads to enhance the student experience.

Awardee: The Multidimensional Meanings of Water for the Albury Wodonga community project team – Dr Evelien Spelten, Professor Katie Holmes, Dr Sean MacDermott, Dr Julia Mynott, Dr Heather Downey
Citation:   The team cross-collaborated with team members from multiple campuses and disciplines, the cities of Albury and Wodonga and Wiradjuri elders on one of the first studies into the recreational, cultural and environmental meanings of water for rural river community residents.

Awardee: In Conversation all-staff webinar team - Sharyn Brady, Claire Bowers, Tory Dillon, Sara Garfirth, Steve Rando, Craig Coster, Professor Clare Wright OAM, Dr Julie Rudner, David Evans
Citation: The In Conversation All-Staff Webinar team created a more energised and engaging format for La Trobe's all staff webinars. The team collaborated in an innovative way to create a fresh format that successfully increased participation and engagement in the all staff sessions.

Awardee:  Dr Robyn O'Halloran
Citation:  Based in La Trobe’s School of Allied Health, Human Services & Sport, Dr O’Halloran has led the work on ensuring the discipline of Speech Pathology met their accreditation requirements for 2022, enabling the cohorts of graduates to work as registered Speech Pathologists in Australia.

Media enquiries: Kate O’Connor – 0436 189 629, k.o’