Yasmin Poole named Sharpe & Abel Scholar

01 Nov 2018

I really liked how it rewarded not just people that have gone through hardship but also put in the time and effort to dedicate themselves to their goals.

A Law and International Relations student who learned to walk again after back surgery for scoliosis, Yasmin Poole, has received the 2018 Sharpe & Abel Scholarship.

The Bachelor of Laws (Hons) / Bachelor of International Relations student applied for the $5,000 scholarship to show others not to give up.

"I didn't think I'd get it but decided to apply anyway," Yasmin, formerly of Melbourne, says, of the scholarship that helps students with drive and commitment to overcome adversity and achieve their goals.

"I really liked how it rewarded not just people that have gone through hardship but also put in the time and effort to dedicate themselves to their goals.

"That's my philosophy in life - that despite everything that I might have been through, I'm going to channel that into who I want to be and what I want to do in life."

Those challenges have included her family's financial hardship after her parents firstly lost their business in the Global Financial Crisis, and then have since struggled to find work in a tight labour market.

"I had severe scoliosis when I was younger and had to get double back surgery," Yasmin recalls.

"That was really difficult but it's quite humbling when you have to learn to walk again and get out of bed, it really puts things into perspective.

"It taught me that sometimes life is really about putting one foot in front of the other and just keeping going."

Yasmin this year also won the Zonta International Melbourne West's Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship. Last semester, her essay about sexism and politics was published in Fairfax outlets, and Yasmin was part of an ABC News discussion about women in politics.

She's also a member of the Victorian government's 2018 Youth Congress, which advises the state's Minister for Youth Affairs on policies which affect young people.

In August, Yasmin was elected as a General Representative onto the University's Student Council, ANUSA, for 2019.

"I'm going to push for more funding toward students from low socio-economic status backgrounds, so that people who come from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds get the opportunity to come to the best university in Australia."

Yasmin's going to use the scholarship toward her goals of being more active in government and politics.

"This takes a bit of the financial burden off me for providing accommodation and things like that.

"I want to a say a big thank you to Melissa Kirby (BA '96, LLB (Hons) '99, GDLP '99). I met her after winning the scholarship and she's one of the most amazing women I've ever met. Her story, her hard work and her grit, and the way she sticks to her principles are amazing.

"She's an inspiration for me and it was an unexpected perk of the scholarship to get to meet her and her firm.

"I'd definitely encourage people who've struggled in the past, especially from financially difficult backgrounds to apply.

"If you can put your mind to it, and work hard, you will get rewarded and recognised."

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