University of Western Australia: Scholarships give students a taste of regional university life

Twelve students keen to experience the benefits of a regional tertiary education have been awarded rural scholarships to study at The University of Western Australia in the Great Southern region.

The scholarships, valued at $15,000 per student per year, were provided to students who wished to carry out their studies at the UWA Albany campus for the duration of their degree.

The students’ studies will cover a range of courses across science and arts, including conservation biology, anthropology and sociology, and English and literary studies.

Luke Burnside (Esperance, 19), Nicole Santos (Albany, 22), Grace Hardiman (Kentdale, 18), Olive Collins (Denmark, 18), Georgia Wagenaar (18, Albany), Beau Davies (39, Youngs Siding), Kayla Thomas (19, Albany), Celeste Baker (18, Albany), Em Murch (26, Melbourne) were awarded Destination Australia Rural Scholarships.

Beau said it was an honour and a relief to have received the scholarship, which would allow him to focus on his studies while providing support for living expenses and travel to campus.

“I never graduated Year 10 of high school, but in the 20 years since I left, I have not stopped reading and was interested to see if I could improve my mind and prospects by pursuing an English Literature major,” Beau said.

“I am unsure where it might take me, but so far, I have been enjoying education for education’s sake.”

Sonja Pascho (47, Denmark), Ursula Rodrigues (23, Perth), Jessica Taylor (22, Perth) received Destination Australia Honours Scholarships to further their studies in marine science, environmental science and natural resource management.

Sonja said being able to study at a top university gave her hope for a career in the region and her marine biology honours project was relevant to the rapidly growing shellfish industry in Albany.

“I see honours as my first step towards a career in marine-related research, hopefully focused on the Great Southern region,” she said.

“It reminds us there is scientific opportunity in regional areas and pursing these opportunities is valuable at more than just local levels.”

UWA was one of 35 education providers across regional Australia that were successful in being awarded the Destination Australia Scholarships, receiving $660,000 over three years to offer undergraduate and postgraduate students the benefits of a regional education.

Jennifer O’Neil, Director of the UWA Albany Campus, said the scholarships gave students a regional tertiary education opportunity and experience that might not otherwise be available to some.

“The Albany campus has delivered a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs for the past 20 years and provided students with a unique experience that embraces the biodiverse and culturally rich nature of its surroundings,” Ms O’Neil said.

“Completing a degree in a regional area has many benefits and those who relocate to the Great Southern region are often loath to leave the region once their degree is complete.”

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