Giving Stories

Jean Edwards and Alison Martin: Sisters supporting gender equity at Burnet

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Sisters Jean Edwards and Alison Martin, along with Jean’s husband David, made a gift to Burnet Institute in honour of their mother, Dorothy Vida Martin.

Vida was a long-time supporter of Burnet and believed strongly in the importance of education for women.

When Jean and Alison found out about the opportunity to fund travel fellowships for female research staff at Burnet, they thought it was the perfect way to contribute to Burnet in a way that was meaningful to the memory of their mother.

Travel fellowships enable an outstanding researcher at Burnet to exchange knowledge with their peers, present their work, receive mentoring, participate in scientific conferences and gain exposure to the wider scientific community.

The provision of travel fellowships for young women scientists is critical to develop the new generation of female leaders.

“Vida was born in 1911,” Alison explains.

“She loved school and had ambitions of a university education and a career in teaching but was prevented from doing this. Undaunted, she found employment in a stockbroking firm and studied accountancy at night, gaining excellent results and becoming a certified accountant.”

In May 2018, two Dorothy Vida Martin scholarships were awarded. Malaria scientist Dr Jo-Anne Chan received the Postdoctoral Fellowship and fellow malaria researcher Leanna Surrao received the Postgraduate fellowship.

“While she never wasted an opportunity to learn or do something new,” Alison said.

“Vida always regretted that she was unable to pursue the career that she wanted. She would be proud to know that her legacy, through us, will allow two women to continue their education and research and further their careers in a way that she could not.”

Giving Stories