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Westpac scholars set to attend Sydney

30 January 2017
Sydney welcomes talented students in 2017

Four graduates have been awarded Future Leaders scholarships through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation allowing them to undertake fully funded postgraduate studies at Sydney.

The University of Sydney will proudly welcome four Westpac Future Scholars in 2017. The program seeks to assist talented graduates to become leaders within their chosen field by giving them the opportunity to complete further studies at one of nine universities across the country.

Celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, Westpac will fittingly award its 200th scholarship since the program’s inception in 2015. Valued at up to $120,000, each scholar’s studies must focus on addressing one of three key priority areas. These research areas are around innovation and technology, enabling positive social change and strengthening Australia’s ties with Asia.

The University is a founding partner in the project with Westpac who are investing in the future of Australia. Recipients of the scholarship are not only supported through funding, they also receive intensive leadership training and join a network of alumni offering support throughout their studies.

Coming from a wide variety of undergraduate backgrounds, the four students who will study at Sydney are Emily Sisson, Phillip Karati, Isla Pawson and Linda Mitchell, three of whom are alumni to the University. Their scholarship research will seek to address particular issues faced within health, chemical sciences, economics and law.

Each recipient was chosen based on their academic profile as well as their extracurricular involvement and leadership potential. Our five Sydney scholars were exceptional in this way, demonstrating a balanced approach to their research ambitions with involvement in volunteering programs, sporting teams, music and university societies.

Phillip Karpati stressed the importance of balancing one’s interests, especially to assist in the application process, “I am a strong believer in developing yourself as a strong, well-rounded individual as you will be far more genuine not only to the selection panelists on scholarship committees but even to future employers,” he said.

Demonstrating the vast array of research fields the program caters to, Karpati will complete a PhD in chemical sciences with the hope of enabling health practitioners to better administer medicines to treat disease.

The Future Leaders scholarship is just one of five programs developed by Westpac offering students and researcher’s opportunities to further advance their careers. Our 2017 recipients were adamant that just applying provided positive life lessons for them, and encouraged others to do the same.

Isla Pawson offered her own candid advice “I’d advise other graduates to think carefully about what motivates them and why. I also think that trying to 'enjoy' the interview process (if reached) is absolutely crucial and serves as the best strategy for communicating clearly your ideas and intentions. It also means that any disappointment that could result from not getting a scholarship is counterbalanced by the conversations you have and the people you meet in the process”.

Pawson will delve further into the field of economics where she hopes to ensure that our cities are made more equitable affordable and just through policy changes.

Also joining the University, as a prestigious Westpac Research Fellow is Dr Maja Cassidy, recognised for her exceptional research performance and ability to contribute to the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation’s priority area of innovation and technology.

Dr Cassidy, a physicist, is one of only five outstanding early career researchers in Australia to be awarded the fellowship, which is supported by the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation and contributes $330,000 towards each researcher’s salary over three years.

The Harvard graduate will investigate how new nanomaterials form and how they interact with the external environment.

The results of her project will make it possible to create electronic devices that can be stretched and bent, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities in quantum machinery. 

Susan Bannigan, CEO of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, said the five successful Westpac Research Fellows were the best and brightest in Australia.

The University is proud to embrace talented young Australians through the Westpac program, further demonstrating Sydney’s commitment to create a brighter future for Australia while providing educational advancements for high achieving students and early career researchers.