Sydney University student wins Rhodes Scholarship
30 October 2008
The winner of the 2009 NSW Rhodes Scholarship is Natasha Simonsen, a University of Sydney economics/law graduate.
Natasha is currently working for the United Nations in Pakistan on issues of justice for imprisoned children, refugees, bonded labourers and female victims of acid attacks.
She was educated at Barker College, Sydney, where she achieved UAI of 100, which earned her a prestigious University of Sydney scholarship for outstanding achievement; she completed a Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences) and law (hons).
She was a Sydney University Law Society representative for two years and won the Walter Reid Memorial Scholarship for Academic Achievement in 2006/2007.
She was named World Champion at the 2007 Phillip C Jessup International Law Moot, Washington DC, and was named best speaker in the final of the Australian Regional Rounds.
Natasha has volunteered for over three years at a Sydney homeless shelter for drug addicted and mentally ill people. She has also been a volunteer in a children's breakfast program in a disadvantaged indigenous area of Sydney.
As a clerk with Allens Arthur Robinson she introduced a program to help disadvantaged children improve their literacy skills.
Natasha has also been a selector and coach with the NSW Debating Union, where she introduced changes to make it more inclusive for government funded schools. She is also a long distance runner and was a competitive softball player and swimmer throughout high school.
At Oxford Natasha will study a Bachelor of Civil Law and Master of Philosophy. When she returns to Australia Natasha says: "I want to get some very practical legal experience in private practice before moving into social policy work particularly in the area of human rights."
Natasha says that child protection is a particular interest. She hopes to work in this area in the future.
From the shortlist of this year's NSW Rhodes Scholarship, two other participants will now go into the selection for the 'Australia at Large Rhodes Scholarship', which will be announced in Canberra later this year. They are Nikolas Kirby from the University of Sydney, and Shaun Lin Yow from the University of New South Wales.
Last year's NSW Rhodes Scholarship winner Joanna Mascarenhas is currently undertaking an MPhil in Civil Law at Oxford, and also a University of Sydney graduate.
Previous prominent Rhodes Scholars include Malcolm Turnbull, Geoffrey Robertson, Kim Beazley and Bob Hawke.
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