In addition to excellent academic results last semester and an academic programme in full swing for Semester 2, many of our students have taken part in exciting academic adventures in Australia and overseas over recent months, as well as within College.
Outstanding academic results
As the St Mark’s motto – spernit virtus humum, excellence reaches for the stars – suggests, academic excellence is one of the core values of our College, and in 2023 our students have certainly been reaching for the stars. In semester 1, more than a quarter of our students achieved at least one high distinction with 43 students (17% of all students) receiving only high distinction and/or distinction grades, including 12 students who received straight high distinctions. Overall, nearly half our results were high distinction or distinction grades.
In addition to achieving these outstanding results, our students have been busy with a wide range of academic activities and adventures over the winter months.
Rave reviews for our music theatre students
Final year music theatre students, Lilli De Nardi and Gracie Rowland performed in an Elder Conservatorium Music Theatre production of Sweeney Todd in June that won rave reviews. The Advertiser reviewer described the show as “a cut above the rest” and the performers as “brilliant… getting the perfect balance of light and shade” and “every one of them inhabit[ing] their character to the nth degree”.
Earth Sciences Convention
University of Adelaide geology student, Cooper Ferguson, together with two fellow earth sciences students, exhibited a poster at the 2023 Australian Earth Sciences Convention in Perth. Their poster presented an assessment of the meteorite specimens held in the Tate Museum at the University of Adelaide and some preliminary geochemical results.
College Club President, Ben McCure, and Arts and Culture/Student Outreach Officer, Bianca Feher, both travelled abroad during the mid-semester break as part of their studies. Ben headed to Vietnam, visiting Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on a creative study tour while Bianca undertook a short-term exchange at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she completed a subject on ethical issues in journalism.
College Club President, Ben McCure, learning how to make rice paper in Hoi An, Vietnam
Arts and Cultural and Student Outreach Officer, Bianca Feher, at UCLA
Zoe Hughes took part in the YMCA South Australian Youth Parliament program this year, which culminated in a week-long residential camp for Parliament Week in July. Zoe was elected Leader of the Opposition and was part of the Recreation, Arts, and Culture Committee, who produced a bill aimed at reducing barriers to youth participation in recreational activities.
Zoe Hughes (front right) with Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, and other members of the 2023 SA Youth Parliament.
Zoe Hughes (centre) with Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, and other members of the 2023 SA Youth Parliament.
Faculty Feast to mark the start of semester 2
The Academic Team welcomed students back after the break with a Harry Potter-themed Great Feast. Students had to dodge the Whomping Willow and duck beneath flying letters to enter the Great Hall where they were sorted into their respective Houses, named after key figures in the College’s history. In a brief address, Professor Markwell offered just a few words quoted from Albus Dumbledore before encouraging everyone to “tuck in” (in Dumbledore’s words) to the magnificent feast that magically appeared before them (thanks to our kitchen wizards).
Writer in Residence
We also welcomed our Writer in Residence, Janet Fennell, an award-winning novelist, short story writer, reviewer, essayist, and poet from the Blue Mountains, NSW, for a six-week residency. Janet has a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of Western Sydney and has been teaching creative writing for 25 years. Her novel, Only Myself, was published by HarperCollins and her short stories have appeared in various magazines and newspapers. Janet will provide both inspiration and writing support for all students during her stay, but particularly our English and creative writing students.
Speaking from Experience
On Tuesday 1 August, we held the first event in a new informal discussion series, called Speaking from Experience, where staff, postgraduate students, and Old Collegians are invited to tell us about something they have learned the hard way – through experience. Our first speaker was one of our current postgraduate students, Chi Ho Yip, who was very candid about his experiences as a practising lawyer in Hong Kong and generous with the universal wisdom and bespoke advice he offered to attendees from all faculties.
STEM Faculty Evening
The semester 2 faculty events commenced last week with the 2023 STEM Faculty Evening. Academic Coordinator Josh Rummell drew together a brilliant panel of guests including astrophysicist Dr Gabriel Collin; research scientist Lynda Saunders; software engineer Dr Kyle Talbot; forensic toxicologist Ms Karen Thai; and forensic biologist Dr Phillippa Hearnden.
Amongst other things, our guests spoke about the value in any field of background skills such as programming and statistical analysis; the importance of strong interpersonal skills in the workplace; and how to identify and use transferable skills to explore different and perhaps unexpected career paths.
It was terrific to see such a great turn out of engaged students, not only from the STEM Faculty but from other faculties as well, all of whom benefited from advice about different learning styles and how to “hack” them to improve academic performance and enjoyed hearing about the similarities (or otherwise) between real life careers in forensic science and those depicted in shows such as CSI.
The Academy by Deloitte
Congratulations to Engineering students Hamish McKenny and George Fulwood (who is also studying Finance and Banking), who have both been accepted into The Academy by Deloitte offered in partnership with the University of Adelaide. The Academy provides students the opportunity to apply their academic learning and to gain practical experience in the workplace via a paid internship program.
Past and present staff and students as well as valued friends of the College gathered in the Library on Friday 4 August for a Sundowner to celebrate our long-serving Librarian, Pirjo Rayner, who retired at the end of June. Professor Markwell once again praised Pirjo’s student-centred and forward-looking approach to her role, which is embodied in the magnificent, purpose-built Ian and Pamela Wall Academic Centre, to which Pirjo contributed thoughtful design ideas.
Guests included the eighth Master of the College, Rose Alwyn, and former Dean, Raphaela Oest, former chaplain, Grant Moore, Angela Bannon, Mary and Guy Watson, Richard Scott Young, and rare books expert, Anthony Zammit, who were also treated to a first look at the nearly completed Richard Watson Rare Books Cabinet.