Four students at The Australian National University (ANU) have been awarded residential scholarships at Burgmann College, in recognition of their academic results, character and commitment to a better future for Australia.
Sai Campbell, Kristian Jongeling, Jae Brieffies and Ben Nolan have received Charles Hawker Scholarships at a ceremony held at Burgmann College this month.
The residential scholarship is worth up to $60,000, enabling the students to live on campus at Burgmann College - a reality many of the recipients, including Ms Campbell, did not think possible.
"I sometimes can't believe how lucky I am and how much my life has changed from cleaning hotel rooms with my mum to save up money for schoolbooks to now studying viruses in a lab and living at college on a scholarship," she said.
"My sincerest hope is that I can one day pay it forward and play a part in bringing about systemic change to how individuals from underprivileged backgrounds are treated in STEM fields."
"I had never seriously considered applying because of the impossible financial barriers posed by moving away from home. My dad and I cried when we found out I got the scholarship."
The Charles Hawker Scholarship was established in 1990 by Mrs Lilias Needhman in memory of her brother. The scholarship is a tribute to Charles Hawker's achievements as one of Australia's pastoral pioneers, and provides students of today with the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
Mr Jongeling will support human rights, particularly the rights of refugees, while Mr Nolan will take a broader approach to improving our region through a foreign policy lens.
Ms Brieffies hopes to make Australia more equitable, where all people have the tools and confidence to pursue their ambitions.
"I think the ultimate demonstration of love for one's country is not to blindly defend all that it does - it's a dedication to making it a better place for all. Making this country a more fair, just, and equitable nation is the goal that will keep guiding my career and everyday actions," Ms Brieffies said.
Learn more about the Charles Hawker Scholarship.