Licence to follow their dreams

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Scholarship winner Kristy Hay (R) with Academic Coordinator Yalbalinga Leanne King.

Scholarships help outstanding students fulfil their ambitions.


Ruby Warber relocated to Melbourne from Collie at age 17 to pursue her lifelong dream to become a clinical psychologist. Now 25 and in her second year of a Master of Psychology (Clinical) at ACU’s Melbourne Campus, Ruby is well on her way to realising her dream.

“Collie is beautiful country, but I moved away to study and follow my heart. My mother instilled in me a strong sense of ambition, and it was with her support I was able to take this huge step.”

Ruby said she hoped to work with the Aboriginal Health Service, and focus on starting a support group for young women – being an ambassador for social and emotional wellbeing. She would also like to work towards educating non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait healthcare workers about culturally appropriate care.

Ruby was recently awarded the Wexford Senate Bursary scholarship – established by the Australian members of the Wexford Senate to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertaking postgraduate study at ACU. A bursary valued at $3,000 is available each year, paid in one lump sum.

Ruby is one of 169 students who have received scholarships and bursaries across ACU’s Ballarat, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney campuses in 2014.  Some of those who have been recognised include:

Daniel Herman, Third-year Bachelor of Psychological Science
Peter W. Sheehan Award

With several years experience as a drug and alcohol counsellor, Daniel was keen to further his qualifications to become a clinical psychologist.

Trained at Gestalt Counselling and Psychotherapy, Daniel has been a counsellor within Stimulant Services, part of the Inner City Health Program at St Vincent's Hospital in Darlinghurst.

“I've learnt to value people's unique experiences and the knowledge and strength they bring. Being vulnerable and authentic is the one of the hardest things to do, but it can also be a place where you find great strength and freedom.”

Nadya Ovchinnikov, Fourth-year Bachelor of Education (Primary)
John F Slowey Memorial Scholarship

It is the strong sense of determination and sheer hard work that has made Nadya Ovchinnikov so successful both at university and in her community.

At ACU, the fourth-year primary education student has achieved distinctions and high distinctions in her studies. As an active member of Russian Orthodox community, she took on an early learning group in the church hall in Cabramatta and turned the sleepy sessions into active classes that filled quickly. Nadya incorporated religious education, language lessons, music and movement, art and craft, and included in the program visits to a local nursing home and hospice, and church events.

“In addition to providing a rich and dynamic program for the children, we found that a lot of newly arrived Russian parents, when attending the group, found comfort and support and subsequently we gained many, many new members to our community and fostered many friendships,” Nadya said.

Alessandre Alonso, First-year Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Global Studies
ACU Law Academic Excellence Scholarship

Alessandre Alonso has the distinction of being one of the first law students at ACU in Sydney, and the winner of the ACU Law Academic Excellence Scholarship 2014, worth $20,000.

Always active in school activities – she was captain of her high school and participated in sport, debating and other community involvement – she has thrown herself into university life with the same enthusiasm, and is one of the founding members of the MacKillop Students Law Society.

“I was attracted to ACU because of the smaller cohort size, and the new and innovative law program, which has 80 hours of pro-bono work each year, experience I knew I would not get at any other uni.”

Kristy Hay, Third-year Associate Degree in Indigenous Education / Bachelor of Education (Primary) (Indigenous Education)
St Vincent de Paul Broken Bay Central Council Indigenous Scholarship

Kristy Hay is passionate about improving the educational outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and is an active member of her local community in Taree. She hopes to encourage others to follow their dreams by being a good role model, and setting a good example for not only her own children but those she works with.

“I have overcome many obstacles to get to university and feel that my life experiences have helped me develop an understanding of the barriers faced by many children when it comes to education.”

The Away From Base program allows Kristy to stay in her community while continuing to work as an Aboriginal Education Officer in a primary school, study, and look after her three daughters.

Heidi Pfeiffer, First-year Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Global Studies
ACU Law Academic Merit Scholarship

Heidi Pfieffer’s school involvement in activities and leadership roles and strong academic results meant she was offered a place through ACU’s Early Achievers’ Program. She is also the inaugural winner of the ACU Law Academic Merit Scholarship in the first year of her combined degree.

Heidi entered her degree with the goal of becoming a human rights lawyer.

“Through my international development studies units I have learnt a great deal about refugees and asylum seekers and other areas of development that I would not have otherwise been exposed to,” she said. “However, as I am progressing though my degree and meeting more people in the legal profession I have come to realise that each person has had a journey to get them to where they are, that has involved a wide variety of career experiences.”

Linda Eggert, Second-year Bachelor of Midwifery (Indigenous)
Nano Nagle Scholarship

Linda Eggert is a descendant of the Boorabarongal clan of the Darug tribe and the Bundalong tribe, and is studying at ACU through the Away From Base residential program.

Winner of the Nano Nagle Scholarship – an award to encourage the development of leadership skills of emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders through professional preparation during their studies – Linda plans to work in the local community upon completion of her degree, focusing on both anti- and post-natal care of mothers and babies through lifestyle and education programs.

“I would like to work within an Indigenous health organisation as well as with women in remote areas or areas where they have to leave their homes and support systems during pregnancy due to lack of appropriate facilities.”

Jessie Dixon, First-year Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine
George Alexander Foundation scholarship

Jessie Dixon is in her first year of a Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine degree at ACU’s Ballarat Campus, and is one of this year’s recipients of the George Alexander Foundation scholarship.

Originally from Horsham, Jessie moved to Ballarat to finish her VCE at Ballarat & Clarendon College, and hopes she can provide support to other students coming to ACU.

“I want to become a peer leader; to help first year students transition from secondary school to university, and hopefully they can learn from my experience.”