Category Archives: Fulbright

Dinner at Parliament House

Fresh off a plane from the US, Jess and I travelled to Canberra for the Fulbright Dinner at Parliament House. We celebrated the 2013 Scholars and caught up with past US and Australian Fulbright recipients. Unfortunately, it was the day of the Labor leadership spill, so Prime Minister Gillard didn’t make it to dinner, but it was great to chat to US Ambassador Bleich again. Here’s some of what he had to say:

“The Fulbright Program was the first treaty between our nations, even before our ANZUS Alliance. And Fulbright’s spirit remains the bedrock of our relationship. We are bound by common values. In a world with billions of people, there will never be enough laws, or guns, or fences, or bombs to keep us secure. It is the social ties – the faith that other people value their lives and their children and want peace just as we do – on which humanity’s future rests. These things are not legislated – they are formed through what Fulbrighters do – the thousands of interactions and tender connections among people.”

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Finishing the Fulbright

I’ve finished my Fulbright year and it was incredible. I spent twelve months living in LA and researching at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Irvine. Jennifer Mnookin and Bill Thompson, my hosts, were incredibly generous with their time and support.

I presented at the UCLA Workshop on Law, Science & Evidence, the International Association for Identification Conference, and the European Academy of Forensic Science, and took out Best Presentation at the International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences, partied at the Australian Embassy and took Second Place in the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. I attended the NIJ Conference, met with Senator Rockefeller’s Staff on Capitol Hill, gave two talks at Harvard, and had two papers published and volunteered in New Orleans.

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Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Irvine

I’ve just finished a three month visit to the University of California, Irvine, as a Visiting Fulbright Scholar. I was invited by Bill Thompson and also spent time chatting with Simon Cole and Elizabeth Loftus who form part of the Center for Psychology and Law. Bill and I are working on surveying the various approaches to the expression of forensic science conclusions, considering the epistemological and legal issues, and evaluating the costs and benefits of each approach. Thank you to everyone who made my visit a fun and fruitful one! Click for more.

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Fulbright in New Orleans

Thanks to the US Department of State, I was flown to New Orleans with dozens of Fulbright Scholars from around the world to discuss Global challenges, local solutions: Climate change and environmental sustainability. We were featured in the local rag, The Times Picayune, whilst volunteering at The Green Project repurposing landfill to help rebuild houses post-Katrina. My group also took the award for Best Environmental Solution and Presentation!

Matthew B Thompson - Fulbright Enrichment New Orleans

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Drinks at the US Embassy

Ambassador Bleich hosted the annual Fulbright reception at the Residence in Canberra and Jason Tangen and I went along. I met the Afghan Ambassador—Nasir Ahmad Andisha (also a Fulbright Scholar)—and the US Ambassador—Jeffrey L. Bleich—and lots of other impressive (though mostly grey-haired!) people. The Australian-American Fulbright Commission and Program is marking it’s 62nd Anniversary. Signed in 1949, it was amongst the first treaties signed between Australia and the U.S.

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Fulbright Queensland Scholar 2011

I’ve been awarded the 2011 Queensland Fulbright Scholarship. I’ll spend a year researching at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to determine how accurate fingerprint experts are, explore the psychology that affects how well they match fingerprints, and maximise the reliability of fingerprint evidence in the criminal justice system. The 2011 Fulbright Scholars were presented with their awards at the Adelaide Festival Centre on 10th March 2011.

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