2021 MGA Supervisor of the Year Award

The MGA’s Vice President Melinda Krebsz and MGA Research Education Officer Madhuni Herath revealed the 2021 winner at a ceremony on Clayton Campus. 

Back row: Nina Quin, Dr Joshua Wiley, Dr Nathan Wilson, Donna Pinnington, Dr Sarah Khor, Laura Astbury and William Saunders.
Front row: Marie-Antoinette Spina, Dr Bei Bei and Svetlana Maskevich.

The time has come to announce the 2021 MGA Supervisor of the Year award, and this year we had to wait just a little longer than usual so we could hold a ceremony in real life for the first time in two years!

On the afternoon of Thursday, 17 March, over 50 Monash research students, supervisors, and other staff members gathered together at the Northern Pavilion on Clayton campus to celebrate excellence in research supervision practice.

MGA Executive Committee Vice President Melinda Krebsz and Research Education Officer Madhuni Herath hosted the ceremony and announced the winner to an anticipating audience as:

Dr Bei Bei from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences!

Dr Bei Bei had no idea that she had been nominated for the award, let alone that she would win. Emotions ran high as she walked up to the stage with two of the nominating students, who are both part of the Sleep and Mental Health Laboratory that Dr Bei Bei leads at Monash University. 

Svetlana Maskevich thanked Dr Bei Bei in her speech, saying “I would like to begin by reflecting on the enormous impact supervisors have in shaping our interests, engagement and capacity to achieve. We are all so different and finding the key to success for each individual is not a simple job. But Bei, you make this job look really easy.”

“You always know when to take pressure off and when to provide support and when to instil confidence and challenge us. We flourish because of your unconditional support. You are one of the few outstanding teachers that I have met throughout my life and I will forever be grateful for everything you have given not just me, but all of us!”

Dr Bei Bei with her students Marie-Antoinette Spina and Svetlana Maskevich.

Amid many tears all around, Marie-Antoinette Spina confirmed what Svetlana said, adding, “You are incredibly dedicated, passionate, enthusiastic, supportive and that is exactly why you deserve this award.”

Dr Bei Bei took the microphone and shared the story of her own brilliant supervisor. “When I came to Australia from China fifteen years ago, John Trinder, who actually passed away last year, welcomed me into his life and showed me how to be a good supervisor. I don’t know that I deserve an award like this but all I know is – I was simply copying what he did with his students.”

“It takes both sides to form a good relationship, so it’s not just me, it’s the students. So much work is actually done through all of you. Thank you so much for this honour and the privilege to work with you.” 

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis says a few words.

Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) offered a few words to congratulate Dr Bei Bei and acknowledge the significance of the MGA Supervisor of the Year Award.

“Established in 1992, the award was the first of its kind at Monash, and is also the oldest award of its kind in the southern hemisphere,” she said. 

“The award is purely the decision of the graduate student community, so it is a unique chance for us as supervisors to see what students really value from the relationship. Supervisors love the fact that students have taken time out to nominate them. It means a lot because they do work incredibly hard supporting students through their candidature.”

Professor Georgiou-Karistianis went on to acknowledge that the pandemic has hit HDR students harder than other student cohorts, and that maintaining a relationship through such a challenging time has been stressful for both students and supervisors. “So in this context, the award is an excellent reflection of the many great supervisors and research culture here at Monash.”

In 2020, the MGA received a record number of nominations for the award and once again in 2021, we’ve matched that record with a total of 83 nominations. 

Each nominee is equally deserving of praise and each nomination is worth celebrating as a vote of confidence from their students. The MGA acknowledged the nominees with a special gift and certificate.

Click here to check out the list of nominees over at our MGA Supervisor of the Year Hall of Fame.

If you would like to put your supervisor forward for the 2022 MGA Supervisor of the Year Award, the nominations are now open! Click the button below to follow the nomination application.