2019 Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence:

Congratulations to Alexander Wetten, Hannah Singleton, April Carpenter and Fiona Johnson, who have each been awarded the 2019 Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence.

The Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence is awarded annually to recognise outstanding achievement by students undertaking public health courses. All four students consistently achieved very high grades and are highly regarded by their lecturers.

Alexander Wetten - Master of Public Health

Originally from Wollongong, Alex moved to Darwin in 2012 to work with remote Top End communities as a public health nutritionist. Once there, he discovered that his training in nutrition and dietetics had only partially equipped him for work in remote NT communities.

To further his career, Alex enrolled in Menzies' Master of Public Health degree in a part-time capacity. In 2016, Alex moved into a NT child health nutrition policy role and had the opportunity to draw on other aspects of his postgraduate study. Alex is now employed as a senior policy officer within the Strategy, Policy and Planning branch of NT Health and has found the knowledge gained from studying public health with Menzies to be vital for his work.

“It has provided a richer understanding of the historical, political, social and environmental factors that impact health,” Alex says.

“Learnings from subjects such as epidemiology and biostatistics has been critical during the coronavirus pandemic, as existing work is placed on hold to assist with the NT COVID-19 response.”

Hannah Singleton – Graduate Diploma in Public Health

After completing her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science, Hannah took a GAP year, working in a remote school in the Kimberley, Western Australia. Her experience and gained knowledge of Indigenous health and wellbeing drew her to further study aligned to this area, enrolling in the Graduate Diploma in Public Health at Menzies.

Having completed the Graduate Diploma, Hannah is now enrolled in the Master of Public Health with Menzies and hopes to focus on health promotion with Indigenous communities upon graduating from the course. She is currently living in Melbourne, working with Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School supporting Indigenous students from Western Australia in their final years of school who are completing the Victorian Certificate in Education (VCE) while she undertakes her Masters.

April Carpenter - Graduate Diploma in Health Research (joint winner)

April moved to Darwin in 2019 to study the Graduate Diploma of Health Research with Menzies after completing her Bachelor of Forensic and Biomedical Science at Murdoch University in Perth.

She felt the Graduate Diploma of Health Research was the “perfect stepping stone” to pursing a research project, and is currently on her next step, enrolled in the Master of Public Health with Menzies, part-time while working in an urological histopathology laboratory full-time back in Perth.

“I would never have achieved the marks I received without the help of my lecturers and tutors and thank them for guiding me through my first graduate course,” April says.

Fiona Johnson - Graduate Diploma in Health Research (joint winner)

Awaiting bio and photo.