Students Prepare to Make Their Mark

14 April 2010

The University of Sydney Arts Faculty welcomed its 2010 Merit and Entry Scholarship recipients on Wednesday 17 March.

With selection based on academic performance, together with a range of other criteria including leadership, creativity and self-motivation, the 32 diverse recipients, along with four deferred 2009 scholars, are outstanding achievers.

Enrolled in varied degrees including BA (Media and Communications), Combined Law, International and Global Studies and Bachelor of Arts, the students were selected from a field of 550 applicants.

Scholars come to the University of Sydney from 35 schools, five of which are outside Sydney. Along with a minimum ATAR of 95.00, they are heavily involved in extra-curricular and community-based activities.

Jaya Keaney from North Sydney Girls excels in her leadership and charity work. As president of the North Sydney Girls' charity committee she helped the voluntary charity group SHOUT and Blue Dragon, a program that sponsors six children in Vietnam to complete schooling and find employment. SHOUT also works to raise awareness of human trafficking and alleviate poverty.

Jaimie Summerfield of Menai High is completing a BA (Media and Communications) degree and hopes to major in Film Studies, which suits her plans to work in film and documentary making. As part of the Menai Youth Advisory Committee she says she "helped organise local youth events and gave advice on appropriate programs." The committee acts as a forum to discuss and act on issues of importance to young people.

Academic and Planning Manager Terry Heath is correct in saying that these scholars are "young women and men who have already served their wider communities in significant ways."

The scholarship selection committee weigh achievement against opportunity and have awarded eleven Merit and twenty-one Entry scholarships this year. University of Sydney Merit scholarships provide $6000 for the normal length of the degree with an optional honours year. Entry Scholarships provide $6000 for the first year.

Carlingford High graduate, Daniel Barabas participated in the school's SRC, external business programs, debating and a myriad of sports ranging from swimming to athletics. He hopes to use his International and Global Studies degree to work with the United Nations and is keen to take advantage of the degree's opportunity for international exchange.

Attending his first scholarships reception as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Duncan Ivison says students are at the University of Sydney "to be challenged and to get an education for life." He congratulated students for "extraordinary results and the fruits of [their] hard work" reminding them to "open [themselves] to new challenges and conversations."

Rebecca Dang of North Sydney Girls embraces the University of Sydney's performance opportunities. Joining the Musical Theatre Society to maintain her piano and vocal skills, Rebecca is "overjoyed" with the scholarship and says it rewards "everything [she] worked for."

Stephen Dodd of Smith's Hill jokes that his "dad was overjoyed" with the scholarship and is eager to begin courses in Political Economy and Studies in Religion. With Political Economy at the University of Sydney taught by the largest grouping of political economists at any Australian University he is bound to come across inspiring ideas.

Stephen's experience as Australian final runner-up in 'Mooting', a simulated appeal court where one faces a panel of judges instead of a jury, helps him with the innovative thinking needed for his degree.

With twenty-one female and eleven male recipients, the division of scholarships mirrors the Faculty of Arts enrolment where 33 per cent of undergraduate students are male.

Professor Ivison says the University of Sydney is "about helping [students] discover [their] personality" and scholars like Dominique Spoelder are on the path to doing just that.

Coming from St Patrick's Sutherland Dominique aims to continue debating and model UN at University. As captain of the Social Justice Committee at St Patrick's she helped with charity planning and practice while involved in UNICEF and Project Compassion.

Despite being "surprised and excited" upon receiving the scholarship Dominique and other recipients are 'all-rounders', students who continue to achieve academically while positively impacting the world around them.

The words of one of the scholar's principals can apply to the group as a whole. "I have taught for over twenty years and do not think in that time I have seen a student so well-rounded, mature and accomplished - it is my belief that they will make a difference in the world."

To find out about 2011 scholarships visit

Scholarship Event photo caption: The Faculty of Arts 2010 Scholarships Reception

Jaimie Summerfield photo caption: Scholarship recipient, Jaimie Summerfield

Stephen Dodd photo caption: Scholarship recipient, Stephen Dodd

Article by Liz Schaffer.