Engineering Student Secures John Monash Scholarship.

Filed under News, Science & Research, UoN ~ by Press on  6 Nov 2019

University of Newcastle engineering student, Sam Parker, secured a John Monash Scholarship for postgraduate study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2020.

Sam was one of 20 recipients awarded a scholarship this year, from 324 applicants.

The highly competitive John Monash Scholarships are awarded to only a handful of Australian graduates who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential, and aspire to “make the world a better place.”

Sam said the PhD scholarship will enable him to address some of the critical challenges faced by people with physical disabilities, by developing assistive devices controlled by the brain.

From a young age I’ve been focused on giving people living with a spinal cord injury, amputation, stroke, or degenerative disease a second chance at life through the implementation of devices that allow patients to control a robotic arm, for example, using the power of thought alone,” he said.

I’m excited to further develop these devices at MIT and bring them from the lab to the clinic, so they can improve the lives of thousands of Australians, and more the world over.”

While studying for his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with Honours, sam worked as a research and development engineer, and interned at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) testing electric motors for a fully electric, sustainable aircraft. For this work, he was awarded the University of Newcastle Intern of the Year Award (2018).

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Professor Deborah Hodgson, said that the potential impact of Sam’s work was exciting.

These devices could make a profound difference to the lives of so many people and are at the cutting edge of innovation in this area. We are pleased to see Sam acknowledged with this wonderful opportunity.

After his MIT studies, Sam Parker hopes to continue working and researching Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology.

The John Monash Scholarship will enable me to network with a cohort of outstanding Australian professionals, drawing on their experiences overseas.

I am excited to hear their stories, what motivates them, and how their postgraduate studies have developed into tangible change in Australia and across the globe,” he said.

The scholarships were established in 2004 in honour of General Sir John Monash for his military and civil leadership contributions to Australian life, and have since been awarded to just over 200 graduates across the country.

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