Two deserving Griffith University students have been named recipients of 2021 Golden Key scholarships.
PhD candidate and Doctor of Medicine student Stanley Du Preez received the Golden Key Scholar Award, while Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Science student Martin Luna Juncal was awarded a Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship.
The Golden Key International Honour Society is the world’s largest collegiate honour society for graduate and undergraduate students and the scholarships are awarded to undergraduates who embody the values of strong academics, leadership and service, and postgraduates who plan to use their postgraduate degree to change the world.
Stanley Du Preez
Studying Medicine and completing his PhD at the same time, Stanley has devoted his research to myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
He said a lack of clinical, research and societal understanding of ME/CFS inspired him to investigate the illness, which can cause debilitating fatigue, cognitive impairments, and immune dysfunction in sufferers.
“This illness affects around 200,000 Australians and often goes misdiagnosed,” Stanley said.
“Patients with ME/CFS also have a severely reduced quality of life and suffer significant stigma.
“Concerningly, they die 10-30 years earlier than the general population from complications related to their illness including cancer, heart failure and suicide.”
Stanley is working with the National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases to develop a reliable diagnostic test and discover effective therapeutics to improve outcomes for patients.
“It is my dream to be a specialist in ME/CFS to help patients and be a nexus between research and medicine in this area.”
“I hope to educate other healthcare workers and society about ME/CFS to reduce the death, disability and stigma that surrounds this illness,” he said.
Martin Luna Juncal
As a Uruguayan-Australian and the first in his family to study at a tertiary level, Martin has seized every possible educational opportunity.
“Both of my parents were born in an impoverished country where success was almost unattainable and a significant portion of its modern history was under a military dictatorship,” Martin said.
“Consequently, the notion of hope as a means to unlock excellence is something that really resonates with me, as my entire life’s journey and the growth of my character has stemmed from the hope that the sacrifices of my family and the support of those around me would not go to waste.”
The aspiring engineer and researcher will use the scholarship to help him complete his final year of undergraduate study before starting a PhD looking at nutrient monitoring in bodies of water by using high-frequency, real-time optical sensors.
“Environmental degradation from eutrophication (an enrichment of water by nutrient salts) is a growing issue, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Great Barrier Reef,” Martin said.
“I’m hoping to help mitigate the negative effects of nutrient runoff by using the high-frequency data that we collect to develop a decision support system to assist stakeholders in minimising runoff.
“I really have a strong passion for research and being able to contribute to the improvement of society, so I’m quite excited to be able to start working on this project full-time.”
Martin has also been awarded a Sir Samuel Griffith Scholarship and the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence, and was listed in the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s Top 100 Future Leaders and one of the Top 10 Future Engineers of Australia.
Griffith Honours College helps students and past students apply for prestigious opportunities to further their academic careers, providing support through the application process.
For more information about the various scholarship opportunities, including New Colombo Plan, Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright and Cambridge scholarships, among many others, head online.