Into the future: this year’s Westpac Scholars announced

Four new Westpac Scholarship winners are diving into their studies at the University of Tasmania this year. Two have received sought-after Westpac Future Leaders Scholarships worth $120,000 each, and two are headed overseas on Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarships.

Ella Burgun and Bethany Yates have received Westpac Future Leaders Scholarships to support them through their postgraduate degrees. The Westpac scholarships were developed to enable, connect and build the confidence and leadership capability of the nation’s best and brightest postgraduate students.

Ella and Bethany join a new generation of changemakers, as they follow their passion for understanding our oceans and the impacts of a changing climate.

Ella has moved from Melbourne to take up a Master’s by Coursework in Antarctic and Marine Science at the University’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS).

“From a scientific perspective, I believe that knowing how climate change affects cold, deep-water ecosystems will provide us with a greater understanding of how to help our environment and how important our ocean is to our survival,” Ella said.

“Not only does the financial support mean that I can pursue opportunities I would have never been able to access, it has also given me an enormous amount of confidence about my research and my passions.

“Having a community of people backing me and supporting me is more than I could ever have dreamed of.”

Bethany is originally from Tasmania but more recently studied in Perth, and will undertake her Master’s in protected area conservation in the School of Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences. She believes the climate and biodiversity crises are among the greatest existential threats to human life.

“Through my studies, I will develop the skills to research, protect and promote the protection of vulnerable ecosystems,” Bethany said.

“The Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship offers a unique, holistic growth opportunity. Every element of the program is carefully considered to support scholars to develop as leaders in their field, supporting them and their communities in the process.”

The two University of Tasmania undergraduate students awarded $12,500 Asian Exchange Scholarships this year are Georgia Arnold and Molly Topham.

Georgia is studying arts and will travel to Tsuru University in Japan for a semester to follow her interests in Japanese language and culture. Meanwhile, justice studies student Molly has a passion for social justice and wants to find ways to reform systems to achieve equity and peace. She has been learning the language and culture of China since she was 15 and will travel to China to attend East China Normal University.

This year’s recipients are among 10 students from the University of Tasmania to have received Westpac Scholarships since the program’s inception in 2016.

Each year, the Westpac Scholars Trust awards 100 new scholarships, with the aim of supporting everyday Australians with the passion and ambition to drive positive change in areas of sustainability, Australia’s place in Asia, Australia as an inclusive country, and the development of a thriving tech sector.

Westpac Scholars Trust CEO Amy Lyden said she is impressed with the high calibre of scholars awarded this year.

“Many of them are already making a substantial impact on our community through their dedicated work, research and studies. I look forward to witnessing the continued growth and success of this exceptional group,” she said.

“By empowering our newest scholars through education, leadership and connections, I believe they will be at the forefront, driving positive change in Australia.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black (far left) talking with Westpac Scholars and Westpac Scholars Trust CEO Amy Lyden (far right) in Hobart

Image credit: Natalie Cesar Procopio

Current and former students from the University of Tasmania, plus a visiting scholar, who have received Westpac Scholarships since the program’s inception in 2016

Image credit: Natalie Cesar Procopio

Top right image: Meet our 2024 Westpac scholars (Left to right) Ella Burgun, Beth Yates, Georgia Arnold and Molly Topham. Image credit: Natalie Cesar Procopio

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