Meet the Scholars

2021 Scholars

2021 Ma and Morley Scholars

Academic Excellence scholars

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Scholarship type: Academic Excellence

Jacob believes equity and justice are the basis for a thriving community. In studying a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws, he hopes to increase his awareness and strengthen these values through pro bono cases and legal research. Jacob considers himself incredibly lucky to have grown up in a supportive community in Newcastle. A highly motivated student and dedicated school leader, Jacob has been widely recognised for his outstanding contributions to community and academic endeavour. Reading and writing have always provided comfort – with majors in English and Writing set to continue this theme. He looks forward to more opportunities to contribute to his community through the Ma & Morley program.

Central Coast, NSW
Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Scholarship Category: Academic Excellence
Enabling Pathway: Open Foundation

Bachelor of Education student Zoë doesn’t have to look far to find inspiration in her life. Growing up, her parent’s decision to expand their family through the foster care system rapidly changed Zoë’s outlook on life. She is passionate about helping people who are marginalised in society to achieve their best. Zoë’s light has shone brightly for children on the Central Coast and Sydney for many years as she volunteered with charities such as the Starlight Foundation and Aspect Autism School. Beneath the face painting and dress ups lies a fierce commitment to be a voice for the voiceless. Zoë is a member of the Central Coast Social Justice group and the Central Coast Residents for Refugees who aim to provide education and advocacy to asylum seekers and refugees.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours) Scholarship Category: Academic Excellence
Enabling Pathway: Open Foundation

Michael’s life has taken him through vast extremes. Growing up in South Africa and travelling through many countries has opened his eyes to some of the world’s greatest challenges. Ideas and concepts come naturally to Michael and he tries to focus his energy on finding solutions. For example, in seeing the huge amount of waste generated by festivals through plastic and discarded nylon tents, he started a business to develop recyclable cardboard tents. On moving to Australia, Michael decided to change career paths to study a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours). He hopes to develop skills to transform ideas into practical solutions. His goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of people, animals and the health of our planet.

Mid North Coast, NSW
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science Scholarship Category: Academic Excellence

Elise credits some unique childhood experiences with developing her global worldview. At age 11, she went from sharing a classroom with nine students in the small country town of Bobin on the NSW Mid North Coast to living and studying in urban Indonesia and rural France. Before spending their year overseas, Elise’s family lived on a small organic farm where they used permaculture principles and shared their table with workers from around the world. Elise believes these experiences have shaped her personality into someone who sometimes enjoys going against the grain. She is passionate about protecting the environment and likes the idea of combining scientific knowledge with artistic expression. She hopes to inspire others to act on environmental issues to help prevent the devastating effects of climate change.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Business Scholarship Category: Academic Excellence

Sophia likes to have a positive impact in everyday life. At high school she co-founded a group promoting women’s health and body positivity among the school and wider community. She raises funds and awareness for charities that support animals working with vulnerable people and has worked as a puppy trainer to cultivate positive relationships between owners and their pets. Sophia enjoys exploring other cultures and perspectives through her creative writing. Inspired by her family and people whose everyday actions have a positive impact on the world, Sophia looks forward to contributing to a more peaceful world as a Ma & Morley scholar.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours) Scholarship Category: Academic Excellence
Enabling Program: Open Foundation

For Thomas, 2020 provided a catalyst for significant personal change. His desire to make a large-scale positive difference to how people use the planet led him to enrol in Open Foundation. Thomas is now pursuing a combined degree in civil and environmental engineering. His goal is to design structures that can be used to sustain large volume plant growth in urban areas. Thomas hopes this may facilitate regeneration of animal habitats, reduction in greenhouse gases and provide a source of food generation from urban farming. He aims to work on projects that are small stepping stones to solve larger ecological problems. Thomas is passing on to his children the values his parents instilled in him: to show respect for the natural environment and use only what you need.

Educational Disadvantage scholars

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage
Enabling Program: Newstep

Bana grew up in Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait where she learned firsthand the importance of peace and cultural respect. Her passion for helping others began at an early age through simple actions around the home. At school in Newcastle, she was recognised as an enthusiastic leader, engaging in many activities to help fellow students. When she started teaching primary school children at the Newcastle Mosque, Bana’s classroom mixed the required syllabus with lessons in mutual respect and moral values. Under her guidance, students helped each other with their homework and always stayed behind to help clean up. She credits her parents and religion for her desire to stand up against injustice and create a safe environment for children.

Lake Macquarie, NSW
Bachelor of Music Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage

As a young girl living in a remote part of Papua New Guinea, Madeleine’s first language was Tok Pisin. It was here that her lifelong connection with people of different cultures began. She later spent half a year living in the remote Aboriginal Community of Kalumburu in northern Western Australia, volunteering as a teacher’s assistant at the local primary school. There she experienced the inequality endured by remote communities and how this can impact a person’s ability to achieve their goals. A skilled saxophone player, Madeleine loves the idea of using music to connect with people experiencing illness or hardship and to enhance cultural respect. Her main goal is to use her study to create and promote innovative, sustainable and equitable solutions for people experiencing poverty.

Armidale, NSW
Bachelor of Medical Science Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage

Muhaymin has grappled with issues around compassion, equity and justice from a young age. Shaped by his childhood experiences growing up in Australia and Oman, and influenced by his family’s experiences in Pakistan, he has continually questioned why there is such emphasis on difference when, in his eyes, we are all the same. Muhaymin became an active school leader and volunteer, putting his desire to help others into practice. After becoming a doctor, Muhaymin hopes to start a foundation providing aid to communities that need access to basic medical care. He also aims to build educational facilities for young women in countries where these resources are limited. This will help to address the fact that over 100 million girls in the world are prevented from receiving an education.

Maitland, NSW
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage

As the child of a refugee, Tatjana is passionate about respecting other cultures. She has chosen dance as her medium to promote unity and respect. Tatjana’s love of performing arts was nurtured from a young age and she danced, sang and performed her way through high school after gaining a position at the Hunter School of the Performing Arts. She has represented Australia in dance competitions internationally and been an ensemble leader and role model for younger students. Tatjana has witnessed the power of the arts to create more opportunities for equity and justice. Through performance, Tatjana’s aim is to express dance as a civil disobedience to bring justice for marginalised and unseen population groups.

Maitland, NSW
Bachelor of Medical Science Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage

Montana is a proud Awabakal woman who has always used her voice to advocate for change. She grew up in Cessnock and Maitland where she was an engaged member of her school community. Her constructive ideas and activism helped embed a yarning circle and artworks in her high school’s main area, providing a place to gather, learn and acknowledge the importance of Indigenous culture. Understanding the challenges faced by many people living in regional towns motivates Montana to be a positive role model for her community. Her goal is to become a doctor and open a medical practice in rural NSW to promote Indigenous health.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage
Open Foundation

Georgia believes that many small acts can contribute to big change. While the scale of climate issues can seem overwhelming, she has forged her own path to prioritise environmental sustainability in everyday life. From choosing re- usable products to cultivating a worm farm for food waste, she leads by example among family and friends. Helping others is something that comes naturally to Georgia. As a child, she grew up in many different places and developed maturity and cultural understanding beyond her years. Inspired by her stepmother, who came to Australia from Botswana to study, Georgia is putting her dreams into action through a Bachelor of Social Work. She plans to work within her community to enable global and societal change.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Social Science Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage
Enabling Program: Open Foundation

Representing and empowering marginalised people is something Mitch was called to do. After leaving his career in the mining industry, Mitch moved to Newcastle and opened an arts commune focused on helping travelling artists and fundraising to help people in need. The path of his life changed dramatically when he assumed responsibility for raising his foster brother. Supporting his brother to overcome many challenges furthered Mitch’s desire to help others and led to a career change to work in disability support. Mitch is now studying a Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Social Science, putting his long-held plans for higher education in motion. He admires anyone who challenges themselves to learn and grow and is looking forward to expanding his awareness of global issues through the Ma & Morley program.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Honours) (Radiotherapy) Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage
Enabling Program: Open Foundation

Amir was 17 years old when he fled Iran with his family. His experience of discrimination and persecution for following the Bahá’í faith has only strengthened Amir’s belief in the need for a unified world. He says while deep-rooted prejudice wears different faces in each population, we each have a responsibility to alleviate suffering in future generations. As a refugee in Turkey, Amir supported spiritual mentoring programs to create a safe environment for young people to explore their purpose and give back to community. He now coordinates a similar program in the Greater Hunter. For Amir, learning to take responsibility, and to detect and empower the hidden talent inside all of us are the keys to unlock positive change in our community.

Indigenous scholars

Central Coast, NSW
Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Scholarship Category: Indigenous

With a yidaki (didgeridoo) in his hands, Jack has been sharing his passion for culture for as long as he can remember. A proud Darkinjung man from the Central Coast, Jack’s enthusiasm for sharing the ways and customs of his ancestors has been inspired by his family and his desire to give back to community. He believes connection to culture plays a vital role in enabling positive change on issues such as biodiversity, conservation and sustainability. As a school and community leader at Wadalba Community School, Jack has performed yidaki and spoken his language at many local and state events. He believes spreading knowledge and educating others contributes positively to all communities.

Blue Mountains, NSW
Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Scholarship Category: Educational Disadvantage

Alayah has always felt a strong connection to culture. As a proud Wiradjuri woman, she became a young Indigenous ambassador in her rural hometown of Lithgow, NSW, representing her school and community through many leadership roles. Her family taught Alayah inclusiveness and respect for all people from an early age. As the first in her family of six to attend university, Alayah draws strength from their guidance and support. Alayah is studying a combined Bachelor of Laws and Commerce and believes that integrity and empathy are critical leadership qualities for creating positive change.

Central Coast, NSW
Bachelor of Business Scholarship Category: Indigenous
Enabling Program: Open Foundation

As a proud Yuin woman, Baylee hopes to combine her interest in marketing and digital media with her passion for Indigenous rights and social change. On leaving school, she excelled in her business administration traineeship, receiving Trainee of the Year in 2015. Since then, work opportunities have opened her eyes to the power of social media to draw insight to social issues. While completing her Open Foundation course in 2020 she wrote, directed and produced a web mini-series for NAIDOC week and other social justice campaigns. Inspired by the progressive nature of her generation and her hardworking family, she is looking forward to studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing.

Central Coast, NSW
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Social Science Scholarship Category: Indigenous
Enabling Program: Open Foundation

As a boy being bathed in the salt water on Country by his grandmother, Andrew learned to appreciate what it means to know where you come from. For Andrew, this means incorporating traditions from many cultural backgrounds, particularly Bundjalung, Worimi, Scottish and Chinese, with an understanding of the world grounded in jugun or Country, which needs to be protected. Andrew believes that leaders must also be learners; an ethos he has embodied as school captain and community leader representing the Hunter at many national leadership, cultural and sporting events. Through his journey into Development Studies and Social Science, he hopes to assist Aboriginal communities develop organisations and businesses that help people achieve their dreams.

Lake Macquarie, NSW
Bachelor of Medical Science Scholarship Category: Indigenous

Competing in athletics and team sports has offered Leroy a pathway to pursue his passions and inspire others. He has also been a role model for younger athletes, balancing his sporting achievements with positive social interactions, academic excellence and a healthy lifestyle. Leroy proudly represents his culture and has developed a deep understanding of our connection to land working with other students at Yula- Punaal Aboriginal Healing Centre in conservation and land management. His global outlook was broadened through an immersion experience in Cambodia to work at a school for children with disabilities. He is looking forward to the opportunity to create progressive change for the environment and in social issues as part of the Ma & Morley program.

Port Stephens, NSW
Bachelor of Medical Science Scholarship Category: Indigenous
Enabling Program: Yapug

Tanika is a proud Worimi woman, who, after a successful career in financial services and health, re-evaluated her life’s direction and applied to participate in a cultural exchange program in rural South Africa. Tanika was selected as an emerging Aboriginal leader for the experience. After working to build vegetable gardens and an environmental classroom for a local primary school, Tanika returned to Newcastle determined to make a difference. In 2020, Tanika completed the Yapug enabling program and has now entered the Joint Medical Program. Her goal is to provide access to appropriate and culturally safe medical services with Indigenous communities and to be part of achieving parity between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians in the field of health.

Lǐng Jūn 领 军 scholars

Maitland, NSW
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Maddison’s greatest joy is in contributing to positive change. Her ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ attitude has developed over many years of service to her community. She has a passion for taking care of people in every way she can. Maddison has been widely recognised for her compassion and resilience, and awarded for promoting peace and equality. A powerful advocate for women and grassroots movements in delivering change, Maddison also strongly believes that communities should hold the power to determine their own futures. Currently undertaking a Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Maddison intends to continue her studies in law and research. Her goal is to empower at-risk individuals and communities to break cycles of poverty, crime and economic hardship by addressing deeper issues and listening to their stories.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Mathematics / Bachelor of Science / Diploma Languages Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Asher hopes to be a part of the push to solve global warming by developing new technologies to replace fossil fuels. He is passionate about technical innovation creating more equitable solutions that promote economic prosperity while reducing environmental impacts. Asher believes this would be a win-win for all countries, especially developing nations that often bear the impact of decisions made in other parts of the world. Asher is committed to working together to improve our world and has volunteered countless hours for social justice initiatives on the Central Coast. He also actively engages with students across all faculties and disciplines to share ideas on the big issues of our time, such as AI, machine learning and big data.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Helping others has always been part of Lauren’s story. At school, she was drawn to act on behalf of important social issues like domestic violence and mental health. Her actions raised valuable funds and awareness for local charities and inspired her to pursue a career in law. On relocating to Newcastle for her studies, Lauren became a volunteer at Soul Café, which serves meals and provides support for people facing disadvantage. This experience highlighted the universal human need for dignity, respect, and equal access to legal representation. Lauren hopes to use her degree in Business and Law to make legal representation more accessible for disadvantaged people and communities.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Business Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Growing up in the Scout movement, Abby spent many hours outdoors exploring her Worimi country around Newcastle. Now a Scout leader herself, she enjoys encouraging the next generation to connect with nature and increase their awareness of environmental issues. Abby believes that small actions, like collecting rubbish on hikes, can have a profound impact when everyone gets involved. Working with her local Aboriginal Land Council provides Abby with further opportunities to promote culture in a contemporary way and share her story and passions with other Indigenous young people. She is studying a Bachelor of Business and looks forward to expanding her leadership skills and cultural connections through the Ma & Morley program.

Central Coast, NSW
Bachelor of Food Science & Human Nutrition / Bachelor of Business
Enabling Program: Open Foundation Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Keren has always been committed to cultivating respect and understanding, matched by a keen interest in sustainability. In her career, she has established an organics supermarket, helped offset millions of tonnes of carbon in the corporate energy efficiency sector, and created a puppet show for children focused on themes of respect, environmental sustainability and healthy eating. Keren is studying a Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition with a view to feeding the world in a more sustainable, equitable and nutritious way by understanding solutions for agriculture that support a growing global population within a balanced and thriving ecosystem.

Maitland, NSW
Bachelor of Psychological Science / Diploma in Languages Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Eloise’s large, community-oriented family provided the perfect backdrop to raise a young person keenly interested in the needs and narratives of others. Eloise has assisted with cultural and student events on campus including Harmony Day. These experiences have helped international students engage with life on campus, improved her own understanding of different cultures and contributed to celebrating multiculturalism in Newcastle. In studying her Bachelor of Psychological Science and Diploma of Languages in Mandarin Chinese, Eloise has experienced the benefits of human connection and understanding. She believes that taking the time to connect with people’s stories is essential in creating positive change, and that by speaking to another in their mother language, you speak straight to their heart, and not just their mind.

Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Social Science / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Scholarship Category: Lǐng Jūn

Skip left school early to study ballet. After training in Munich and gliding across stages in Germany, she worked with national and international arts organisations across the world. For many years she delighted in telling stories with dancers and movers from all backgrounds, nationalities and abilities. This included leading cross-cultural dance projects and collaborating on dance therapy programs for people with disabilities. To complement her passion for dance as a medium for social change, Skip is now studying a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Politics and International Relations. She is also a Student Ambassador. Guided by her mentors, she is broadening her understanding of the significance of criminal law to justice, community advocacy and democracy.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.