A PhD psychology candidate who is passionate about mental health and education and a law graduate who runs the WA Debating League have taken out this year’s Bryant Stokes Matilda Award for Cultural Excellence at The University of Western Australia.
Bronwyn Milkins from Crawley, a PhD candidate in UWA’s School of Psychology, and Christopher Burch who lives in Doubleview and who has just completed a Juris Doctor, were jointly awarded the prestigious prize.
UWA’s Warden of Convocation, Adjunct Professor Warren Kerr, said the $5000 award recognised excellence and outstanding achievement in cultural pursuits such as music, literature, public speaking, dance, visual arts, and drama.
“Given the very high calibre of the applicants for this year’s Matilda Award, judges had a difficult job deciding the best of the best, so it came down to both Bronwyn and Christopher sharing the honour,” Adjunct Professor Kerr said.
“Convocation of UWA, in conjunction with the UWA Student Guild, makes an annual presentation of this very special award and I am delighted that such deserving candidates had been acknowledged in this way.”
Adjunct Professor Kerr said the selection committee, led by Clinical Professor Lesley Cala, from UWA’s School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, was impressed with the joint winners’ achievements.
He said the Matilda Award was presented for cultural excellence on the basis of work as part of a university course, or for participation in the arts in the wider community.
Clinical Professor Bryant Stokes, a member of the first graduating class of 15 UWA medical students in 1959, made a generous private donation to fund the Matilda Award for Cultural Excellence, with his stated aim: "To encourage young people to join in community service in association with the arts."
Professor Stokes currently works as an Emeritus Consultant Neurosurgeon at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital.
Adjunct Professor Kerr said the 2016 Convocation awards, which include the Postgraduate Research Travel Awards, open on 4 April 2016 and close on 3 June 2016.
“Convocation provides over 60 awards each year to encourage UWA students like Bronwyn and Christopher to aim for excellence,” he said.
“All the funds for these awards are donated by graduates, many of whom have benefited from similar awards during their time as students at UWA.”