Academic successes and adventures: Semester 1, 2024

2024 is off to a strong start, with celebrations of the academic success and adventures of the St Mark’s community.

Academic Awards Dinner

We celebrated our 2023 academic high achievers at the annual Academic Awards Dinner on 27 March. The awards were presented at a special Formal Hall after a reception at the Lodge.

Madalyn Toet, Eloise Wills, Zac Meakin, and Emma Mattiske.
Cass Joubert, Ella Browne, Cam Akehurst, Harry Yous, and Cate Lin Loo.

Here’s a round-up of the winners.

Scholarships and Prizes

Returning students Mackenzie Walter and Nathan Rokebrand were jointly awarded the Edward A. Radcliff Scholarship as the 2023 College Duxes. Mackenzie, who is studying Forensic and Analytical Science at Flinders University, was also awarded the Sir Ronald Fisher Medal for the most outstanding student in science. Nathan, a student at the University of Adelaide, also received a prize for outstanding results in engineering.

Third-year University of Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences student Oscar Hemmings was awarded the G. Angas Parsons Scholarship as the runner-up to the Duxes.

Prizes for outstanding academic performance were also awarded to Robyn Coles (Allied Health) and Zoe Raynes (Medical Science).

Dino Macri, who is studying Italian alongside a Bachelor of Computer Science, won the BP Wait Prize for the best student in Classics or Modern Languages.

Media and Communications student Cameron Dixon won the WF Wehrstedt Prize for an outstanding performance in Arts and Humanities.

Back row: Dr Katrina Stats, Nathan Rokebrand, and Oscar Hemmings. Front row: Dino Macri, Cameron Dixon, Mackenzie Walter, Zoe Raynes, and Professor Don Markwell AM.
The Distinguished Scholars Book, now including 2023’s award recipients.

Distinctions and High Distinctions

Overall, our community earned a total of over 800 High Distinctions and Distinctions throughout 2023.

To achieve seven or eight High Distinctions in a single academic year is an impressive feat – and 11 St Mark’s students did just that, earning Commendations for Exceptional Academic Achievement. Three of these students received High Distinctions in all their subjects.

Eight more students achieved five or six High Distinctions and were awarded Commendations for Outstanding Academic Achievement. A further 34 students were awarded Commendations for Academic Excellence for earning two, three, or four High Distinctions. 27 of these students received High Distinctions in at least half of their subjects.

We are very pleased to report that an incredible 199 students (approximately 81% of our community) earned at least one Distinction or High Distinction in the year. 31 of these students achieved either High Distinctions or Distinctions in all their subjects.

All three of our Honours students were awarded First Class Honours in Arts, Engineering, and Law respectively. One of these students, Oliver Douglas, was also selected as the South Australian Rhodes Scholar for 2024.

Additionally, Flinders students Eliza Corbin, Charli Dodson, Cate Lin Loo, Zac Meakin, Georgie Orchard, and Mackenzie Walter all received Chancellor’s Letters of Commendation for their outstanding results in 2023.

The 2023 academic performance of St Mark’s College students is very much reflective of the College motto, Spernit Virtus Humum, which roughly translates to “excellence reaches for the stars”.

Playford Trust Scholarships

The 2024 Playford Trust Scholarships Ceremony saw two St Mark’s collegians awarded prestigious scholarships to support their studies.

Jemima Lloyd, a first-year student undertaking a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the University of Adelaide, was awarded a Playford Trust Rural and Regional STEM Scholarship.

Fellow first-year University of Adelaide student Lucas Cockshell, who is working towards a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical and Computer Sciences, was awarded one of the Andy Thomas Space Foundation/Playford Trust Scholarships.

The Playford Trust was created in 1983 to honour the memory of South Australia’s longest-serving Premier, Sir Thomas Playford. The Trust provides scholarships to South Australian university and TAFE students, especially to support them in university studies or research in STEM or related priority areas for South Australia.

Lucas Cockshell (far right) pictured with other scholarship recipients.

An award-winning Yarn with Rebecca Keeley, inaugural Ivan Shearer Scholar

Old Collegian Rebecca Keeley was named the NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner for 2024! The award recognises Bec’s innovative approach to improving speech pathology services for children and families across rural and regional Australia.

Originally from Darwin, Bec was a resident student at St Mark’s from 2012-14 while she studied a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Flinders University. She was later awarded our prestigious Ivan Shearer Scholarship in 2022, which helped enable her to undertake an MBA at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Bec used the learnings from her postgraduate studies to establish Yarn, an innovative app designed to enhance the impact of speech pathology services. Yarn provides regional clients with access to allied health support, reduces wait times and wait lists, and gives families ongoing support between sessions.

Congratulations, Bec!

Rebecca Keeley (middle) at the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award ceremony.

Speaking from Experience with Oliver Douglas

We welcomed back recent Old Collegian and 2024 Rhodes Scholar, Oliver Douglas, for the first Speaking from Experience for the year.

In a fireside conversation with our Senior Academic Tutor, Cam Akehurst, Oliver offered his best tips and advice for making the most of university, College, scholarships, and other opportunities. Oliver certainly offered a wealth of information, having served as Charitable President and College Club Vice President during his time at St Mark’s and jointly winning the 2023 Collegian’s Prize!

Current students listened eagerly as Oliver spoke of his search for purpose and the importance of introspection for growth. It was an illuminating and inspiring evening.

Oliver studied a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Adelaide and was awarded First Class Honours in History. Later this year, he will head to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar to undertake postgraduate study in modern British history.

Oliver Douglas.

Ink drinking at St Mark’s

The St Mark’s College Book Club is a small but enthusiastic group of buveur d’encre, or ink drinkers, as the French say!

The Book Club meet once a term to talk books over supper. Our first meeting for 2024 took place in March in the Senior Common Room, where we reviewed Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. The discussion was led by our well-read Librarian, Amanda Ward. Topics ranged from critiquing the style of writing and the unusual structure of the book to exploring its key themes, such as gender inequality, the complexity of relationships, and the idea of video games as art.

From left to right: Cooper Ferguson, Andie Hallgath, Oscar Hemmings, Emma Neuhaus, Zoe Hughes, and Amanda Ward.

Club members are currently reading Bonnie Garmus’s bestseller, Lessons in Chemistry. Excitingly, they got to attend a talk with the author at Regal Theatre.

From left to right: Andie Hallgath, Kathy Radoslovich, Zoe Hughes, Amanda Ward, Karin Dunsford, Cooper Ferguson, Will Gillet, Cam Akehurst, and Dr Katrina Stats.
Author Bonnie Garmus is interviewed about her book, “Lessons in Chemistry”.

Getting down to business

On May 1, our Business, Finance, Commerce, and Economics students enjoyed a dynamic Q&A. The discussion was hosted by our 2024 SAT and Business/Law Academic Coordinator, Cameron Akehurst.

From left to right: Cameron Akehurst, Andrew Stevens, Lauren Stevens, Craig Mudge, Sarah Ware, and Edwina Page.

The panel included:

  • Old Collegian Dr Craig Mudge AO (St Mark’s 1960), who has had a long and distinguished career in IT and innovation in Australia and abroad.
  • Edwina Page (St Mark’s 2020-22), auditor and Old Collegian.
  • Lauren Stevens, now a Marketing Director and business owner.
  • Andrew Stevens, Financial Controller at Flinders Port Holdings.
  • St Mark’s own Business Manager, Sara Ware.

The panellists offered thoughtful advice. The discussion spanned work-life balance (or work-life integration, as one guest described it), invaluable interview tips, and entertaining stories from the coal face of the business world.

Students enjoying the event.

A wine-derful evening

Academic Coordinator Rachael Bird organised a faculty evening with a twist for members of the Agriculture, Viticulture, Veterinary, Marine, and Animal Science Faculty on Thursday, 9 May.

Students were treated to a sampling of professions in between a formal wine tasting experience! With the Ballroom set up to resemble a grand wine bar, fifth generation winemaker Simon Tolley led the group in an expert tasting of a selection of his finest wines.

In between drinks, students heard from:

  • Simon (owner of Simon Tolley Wines).
  • Veterinarian Dr Andrew Dunn, co-founder and surgeon, Small Animal Specialist Hospital, Adelaide.
  • Marine biologist Georgina Kenning, who works at the Marine Discovery Centre in Henley Beach.
  • Livestock industry development consultant Bruce Hancock.

The panel shared tips for salvaging smoke-tainted grapes, hand-rearing seahorses, surviving burnout, and distinguishing oneself as a graduate applicant. It was a delicious and delightful evening!

Rachael Bird, Simon Tolley, Andrew Dunn, Georgina Kenning, and Bruce Hancock.

Re:Marks re:Vived

We congratulate 2024 Lion Editors, Juliette Parlange, Roslyn Thomas, and Zoe Raynes for the long-awaited revival of Re:Marks. The Lion Editors were encouraged and supported in this endeavour by College Club Committee member and Outreach Officer Zoe Hughes.

Re:Marks is an informal student publication first established in 1990 as a forum for students’ work. Showcasing creative writing, visual arts, news, and information about forthcoming events, the latest edition of Re:Marks was enthusiastically received at the recent College Club OGM. We eagerly anticipate the second edition for 2024!

Micho Milanovic with his copy of Re:Marks.
Gemma Garraway with her copy of Re:Marks.

Women’s health on the menu

Zoe Hughes was also responsible for organising the fantastic Women’s Health Formal Hall and Q&A on 13 March. There was a large turnout at the panel discussion in the Ballroom after dinner. While the crowd was predominantly female students, they were joined by some of our male students.

Zoe, together with Dorisa Nasserian, did a brilliant job of chairing the panel session. Guest speakers included:

  • Eloise Hall, the co-founder and Managing Director of TABOO Period Products.
  • Gynaecologist, pain physician, Chair of the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia, and Founder and CEO of Alyra Biotech, Associate Professor Susan Evans.
  • Tiffany Brooks, a health psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide.
  • Nawal Church, a women’s health specialist physiotherapist.
  • Former College Club President Sophie Ludbrook (St Mark’s 2019-21), who is currently completing her final year of medicine.

The guests shared different personal, medical, and therapeutic perspectives on endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and adenomyosis. They spoke about changing approaches to treating women’s pain, and the importance of destigmatising and improving education about women’s health.

From left to right: Zoe Hughes, Dr Tiffany Brooks, Sophie Ludbrook, Eloise Hall, Nawal Church, Prof. Susan Evans, and Dorisa Nasserian.

Zoe says: “In a college that values inclusiveness and having a voice, it was time to start the conversation about women’s health in an open and candid way. We were lucky enough to have five brilliant women join us and share insights from their various backgrounds.

“Even after many years of fighting to be heard and believed, thousands of women are still turned away from medical help and told that ‘period pain is normal’. Spoiler alert: it’s not. That’s why it’s so important to have honest and open conversations about women’s health even when it’s hard and uncomfortable.

“Although the night is finished now, the conversation is far from over. I urge everyone to continue to have these hard but truthful conversations.”

Read all about it!

Last term, first-year UniSA Psychology student Jack O’Connor successfully petitioned the College for the regular delivery of newspapers. Jack argued that access to quality news sources would help students to become more informed about and engaged with local, national, and global affairs. He believed this would equip students to better fulfil their civic duties; improve their writing, grammar, comprehension, and critical thinking skills; and provide a source of connection and conversation for students.

The College now receives daily print copies of The Advertiser and The Australian. This is in addition to our existing subscriptions to The Guardian Weekly, The Economist, New Scientist, National Geographic, and The Koori Times. Jack has taken on the duty of delivering papers to the JCR and recycling the previous week’s papers. He also runs regular quizzes on current affairs.

Lucas Cockshell and Andy Kariuki enjoying access to the newspapers in the Junior Common Room.

“The rocks were amazing!” – Cooper Ferguson on his NZ Study Tour

University of Adelaide Geology Honours student, Cooper Ferguson, provides us with another compelling reason to study earth sciences: travel!

“At the beginning of semester 1, I had the opportunity to visit New Zealand for two weeks as part of the Earth Sciences Honours Study Tour organised by the University of Adelaide,” Cooper says. “We explored both islands, utilising our geological knowledge and skills to understand the complicated tectonic history that shaped New Zealand.

“The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, allowing us to utilise everything we learnt in our Bachelor degrees. We also got an introduction to presenting and researching through the nightly seminars built into the trip and our overall assessment.

“Of course, the rocks were amazing! Some highlights were the contact between the Australian and Pacific plates, the outcropping near Franz Josef, and the Taupō Volcanic Zone, the site of Mount Ngauruhoe, used in the Lord of the Rings films as Mount Doom.

“A huge thanks to our demonstrators for providing their knowledge and expertise, and their time and energy driving us around and hearing our constant questions. The trip would not have been possible, nor as enjoyable and educating, without them.”

Cooper Ferguson.

Report from the field – Madi Martin

Third-year UniSA speech therapy student, Madi Martin, is the 2024 Academic Coordinator for the Allied Health and Health and Medical Sciences Faculty. She is currently completing her first placement and writes to us from the field.

“I am currently three weeks into my first Fieldwork Placement for my Speech Pathology course! I’ve been placed at the UniSA City West Health and Medical Clinic, which is a student-run allied health clinic. Here, families access the benefits of allied health services without paying full cost for sessions.

“I’m working with three other speech pathology students, and we each have a caseload of four clients over two days. My days consist of planning and administering formal and informal assessments, planning sessions and implementing interventions, and getting feedback from my clinical educators on how I can improve.

“My tip for starting placement is to remember that you (at least in my case) aren’t expected to be the best at everything in your first placement rotation. You are allowed to make mistakes and ask questions. If you’re nervous about starting placement, know that your clinical educators or supervisors are there to help you. They wouldn’t sign up for being a supervisor if they didn’t want to help you become a better professional in your field!”

Madi Martin.

Showcasing skills at Showcase SA – Kellie Lessue

Kellie Lessue, who is studying a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at UniSA,  is completing an internship with Showcase SA. She provided a summary of her experience so far:

“Showcase SA is a marketing company that connects and showcases South Australian businesses, both small and large. I’m excited to use my event planning experience from the Charitable Foundation last year and the College Club Committee this year. This experience has made my transition into this related work a lot easier. I’ve really enjoyed using the skills I’ve learnt at university in a professional environment.”

Kellie Lessue (far right) pictured at a Showcase SA event.

Chillin’ on the other side of the earth – Imogen Dickinson

Imogen Dickinson, a third-year UniSA Human Movement student, has been on exchange in Canada this semester. She recently sent us this update from St. Catharines, Ontario.

Imogen Dickinson (middle) pictured with fellow students on a postcard.

“Hi there from Canada!

“It’s been a whirlwind of experiences over here at Brock University. We’re situated in one of Canada’s biggest wine regions (which has its perks!) and just a short 20 minutes away from the notorious Niagara Falls.

“It’s safe to say that Canadians share a similar lifestyle to us in Australia, it just gets so much colder here with snow and strong winds. It’s nothing a coffee from Canadian chain Tim Hortons can’t fix, especially with friends from all over the globe.

“Apart from the weather, other observable differences include driving on the other side of the road and the content of my university classes. My classes are much easier here in Canada compared to my classes back home. Can’t say I’m unhappy about it!

“One of my favourite experiences so far is the winter expedition I did with my outdoor education class. This involved camping outside in the snow for two nights, pulling all our belongings on a sled across a frozen lake, and taking water from a hole in the ice to use for cooking and drinking. While I’ve never been happier to see my bed in my dorm, it was an amazing experience nonetheless.

“My time here has come to an end, which I can’t quite believe – short but sweet. It’s both exciting and sad to come back home. See you soon, Mark’s!”

An action shot of Imogen’s once-in-a-lifetime expedition.

Service above self

College Club Vice President Will Gillett recently spoke at the Rotary District Conference, celebrating 100 years of Rotary in Loxton. Will shared how his association with Rotary has shaped his life and values so far, and spoke passionately on the topic of service above self. He used Charles Hawker, one of the founders of St Mark’s, and Charles’s sister Lilias Needham, as examples.

“While Charles Hawker’s achievements are well known and widely admired, it is his sister, Lilias Needham, whose selfless commitment is truly extraordinary and does not get acknowledged enough.

“It was Lilias Needham who endowed the lifechanging Hawker Scholarships. Since 1990, these have enabled students like me to reside at St Mark’s and at other Australian colleges, and in Cambridge, like her brother did, while undertaking their university studies.

“She was also part of many service organisations like Rotary and donated a lot. However, with many of these donations, she requested to remain anonymous. It was only after her death that these organisations, including St Mark’s, could acknowledge all she had done.

“Lilias Needham is indeed a true example of selfless service. Her service, which was motivated by the desire to perpetuate that of her brother, now inspires and recognises others.”

He concluded with a powerful assertion. “The motto of service above self is one I aspire to apply throughout my studies and future career.”

Will Gillett (left) speaking at the Rotary event.

In honour of this remarkable and humble woman, the Lilias Needham Medal for Service is now awarded annually at St Mark’s to a student who has demonstrated selfless service, and winners of the Lilias Needham Medal are listed on an honour board in the Junior Common Room. Read more about Lilias Needham here.