Investing in leadership potential

15 July 2014

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is proud to announce the recipients of the Future Leaders Scholarship in 2014. These exciting awards have been made possible thanks to generous donations from alumni and friends, via the Dean's Scholarship Fund.

In this inaugural year of the scheme, Rebecca Georgiades, Michael Rutherford, Tayla Howard and Peter Bowers have been awarded $6,000, which supports their development and commitment to making a positive contribution to society.

The scholarships have proven timely for these students, who are currently undertaking community project work but require some financial assistance to ensure they continue these projects while studying.

The new program, intended to reward and invest in a student's exceptional talent and dedication to the public good, helps foster the growth of some of Australia's brightest young leaders. As explained by Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, "the University of Sydney attracts some of the finest young people from Australia and the world, and we know many of them will go on to play important leadership roles in the public and private sector."

Second year Bachelor of Arts student Rebecca Georgiades' initiative titled Project: Insight is comprised of a blog that displays interviews and photos of people she has met on campus. "I go around to strangers on campus, not only students but lecturers, cleaners, grounds staff, and librarians. What I'm trying to do is break down the barriers between all of us on campus and ask people, 'What advice would you give to your 18-year old self'?" The scholarship will allow Rebecca to develop a photographic and literary gallery on campus, showcasing all of the different people that make up the University of Sydney.

As a member for the Liverpool Youth council, Michael Rutherford, second year Bachelor of Arts student in Government and International Relations, wants to develop a project addressing youth unemployment. This is currently at a peak of 16.2% in the Liverpool-Fairfield region. Michael wants to visit high schools in the area to help demystify the jargon of employment by teaching students confidence in the language and conventions of the job market. He says that a lot of young people are not equipped with these skills when first starting out in the workforce. "Jobs especially for fifteen to sixteen years olds can be quite mysterious with things that can be misunderstood, such as what your role is and how the job works". Michael wants to target all schools in the area of Liverpool. "Even though the majority of the schools are low socio-economic schools, I am trying to target all schools as it's quite a common theme across the student body in the region" says Michael.

Another recipient is Tayla Howard, a second-year Bachelor of Arts student who is assisting at the Linkz Incorporated Odyssey Program , which runs recreational activities for youth in rural indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Assistance from this scholarship will enable her to continue journeying to these states to work with this program. Tayla also hopes to start a new initiative aimed to connect a NSW High School with Indigenous youth of the same age to hopefully foster an understanding of the cultures of Australia, both Indigenous and non-indigenous.

Another exciting project that will be stimulated by the scholarship is that of Economics major Peter Bowers, who is collaborating with Shine for Kids , a charity that connects people in prison with their families. Peter wants to expand on this initiative to create Together Photography, where he aims to capture family photographs inside NSW prisons which he hopes will help the families cope during the separation that come with the incarceration of a loved one.

Professor Ivison is proud of the students chosen for the scholarship and extremely grateful for the financial support of alumni and friends, without which the Future Leaders scheme would not be possible. "It's a terrific group of students as inaugural recipients of this scholarship, who are pursuing a very interesting set of projects. We want to support the development of future leaders in our community," he says.

The scholarships are open to both domestic and international students that are enrolled full-time in undergraduate study within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The next round will take place in early 2015.

The students' projects are currently underway and we will follow up at the end of the year with an update on their journeys and experiences.