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Outstanding alumna singled out for academic excellence

Rebecca Taylor

One of our brightest young graduates wins a highly sought-after Oxford University scholarship.

HANDPICKED for her academic excellence, Dr Rebecca Kelly has been awarded a prestigious Clarendon Scholarship at Oxford University.

The University of Tasmania alumna applied for her DPhil at Oxford University (the equivalent of a PhD).

She was such an outstanding applicant that she secured one of 130 Clarendon Scholarships, which cover course fees and provide a grant for living expenses to the best graduates from around the world.

“It was really amazing to even receive an offer to study at Oxford University, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to fund it myself,” Dr Kelly said.

The scholarship will alleviate the financial pressures of studying overseas and connect Dr Kelly to a group of global scholars from different disciplines.

It was a love of the outdoors that first inspired her to study medicine “on the other side of the country.”

“I came down to Tasmania from Queensland and I loved it so much that I’ve been here for 10 years,” she said.

“My family moved here and my partner is from here; I’m well and truly Tasmanian now.”

Dr Kelly completed a Bachelor of Medical Science with First Class Honours, a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery and a Masters of Public Health.

It was during her time studying population health at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research that Dr Kelly discovered her passion for research.

“We were focusing on the lifestyle factors that modify the risk of high blood pressure from childhood to adulthood, and I absolutely loved it; I found myself up working all night.”

“It was everything that I had wanted to do in my career, and, from then on, I decided that I wanted to work in public health medicine.”

At Oxford, she will be part of a nutrition epidemiology group, which focuses on how diets can be modified to change people’s risk of disease in the future.

While her study topic is yet to be confirmed, she hopes to focus on vegetarian diets and risk of heart disease and stroke.

In order to work alongside others in her niche field of health and medicine, Dr Kelly said she knew she needed to travel, but her long-term aim is to return to Tasmania.

“I knew I had to go away to gain these unique skills, but hopefully when I come back, I will be able to make a valuable contribution to the health of all Tasmanians.”

Published on: 11 Oct 2019 11:00am