Fulbright Scholar elects Macquarie University to continue groundbreaking research

1 July 2019
Faculty of Human Sciences


Macquarie University today welcomes Madison Hecht, a graduate in neuroscience (University of Virginia) and recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to our campus. Madison elected Macquarie University as the host institution for the duration of her award.

Madison Hecht will conduct field research in educational psychology, focusing on the increased risk of sexual victimisation experienced by, and the effectiveness of health education with, autistic adolescents.

“Autistic people are particularly at risk for sexual victimisation, and my project examines a possible protective factor in the sexual health of autistic people — effective sexual health education,” Hecht said. “While working with several autistic self-advocates to ensure my study reflects the needs and values of the autistic community as closely as possible, I will interview parents, teachers and autistic adolescents to better understand the challenges experienced by autistic adolescents regarding sexual health. I will then assess the effectiveness of the national Australian health curriculum in supporting those needs.”

Madison will be working with Professor Liz Pellicano, Department of Educational Studies, on the project.

“Autistic people can be up to three times as likely as non-autistic people to be subject to sexual assault. We are delighted that a young scholar as talented as Madison Hecht will be at Macquarie to further her extraordinarily important research on how we can change this and help keep autistic people safe,” says Professor Liz Pellicano.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States of America, aimed at increasing binational research collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas. The program was established by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has grown to become the largest educational exchange scholarship program in the world.

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