Research takes law student to death row

19 December 2006

In the past 25 years Texas has built up a fearsome reputation as the execution capital of America.

Since 1982, 379 people have been executed by lethal injection in the state prison at Huntsville, and a similar number are currently on death row.

Law student, Anish Bhasin, plans to study at the University of Texas's Capital Punishment Center.
Law student, Anish Bhasin, plans to study at the University of Texas's Capital Punishment Center.

Sydney law student Anish Bhasin - an opponent of the death penalty - will travel to the University of Texas at Austin later this year to study how the system works at first hand. With the help of a Chancellor's Committee Exchange Scholarship worth $3,000 he plans to study at the university's Capital Punishment Center, working with attorneys handling death penalty cases. They will be visiting clients in local jails, interviewing witnesses and helping prepare for trials.

"I've been involved in the NSW Council for Civil Liberties recently and I am personally opposed to the death penalty. With nine Australians overseas facing the death penalty, and six of those in Indonesia, capital punishment is topical in our region," he said.

At 26, and with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, a masters in international studies, and halfway through a graduate law degree, Anish hopes that his time in the USA will broaden his academic exposure.

"Many current legal topics such as terrorism are global issues. I want to study how other governments with different jurisdictions engage with these issues," he said.

Zhe Xu, a third year aerospace engineering student, also won a Chancellor's Committee Exchange Scholarship which he will use to study for a semester at the University of Arizona.

"Aerospace engineering is a big industry in America. Researchers from Arizona University designed one of the cameras being used for the Mars probes," said the 20-year-old.

As well as learning about the research at Arizona, Zhe is keen to discover how the teaching styles compare with those at Sydney. "This is a unique opportunity for me to see how things work over there," he said.

A total of 79 international exchange scholarships were awarded this year on the basis of academic merit, which takes into account the cumulative annual average marks obtained by applicants.

Some faculties also offer their own scholarships, such as the Faculty of Arts with the Fare Enough Scheme, the Faculty of Economics and Businesswith Student Exchange Travel Scholarships and the Faculty of Science with Dean of Science Undergraduate Exchange Scholarships.

Contact: Richard North

Phone: 02 9351 3720