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The Joan Ritchie Scholarship 

Is based on a bequest and awarded to a woman second year undergraduate over 25 who has faced considerable hardship in her studies. This year’s winner is Belinda O’Connell-Milner studying a Bachelor of Speech Therapy at the University of Western Sydney

Belinda is 36 and in 2022 gained six distinctions. Since 2013 she has substantial caring duties for her daughter, Shelby, who has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, is fed by tube, is ‘non-verbal, incontinent, has a severe intellectual disability’ and has to have weekly therapies and appointments. Selby is hospitalised frequently and unpredictably and Belinda is unable to work because Shelby is completely dependent. She has two other children and her husband, who is sole breadwinner, also has health problems.

Before Selby’s birth Belinda worked for eight years in Real Estate and has since been preparing herself for university with a Cert IV in Mental Health and a Cert III in Community Services. Her referees say” she applies herself to every subject with diligence and a genuine love for learning. Belinda showed compassion and respect to all her classmates and was a pleasure to have in my class.” And “she is hard working, very organised, very empathic and has lived experience of disability that will make her a very good speech pathologist. She wants to make a better world.”

The Graduate Women NSW Education Trust Scholarship 

The GW NSW Education Trust Award support women students in their third year of full time study, of their first degree, with good academic results in the course so far.

Won by Lilly Smith who is studying Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga. Lilly has the plus of being a regional student at a regional university in a field under-represented in our awards. She has a good academic record, and plans to use the award to pay for accommodation and placement expenses. Lilly says “when I graduate, I wish to work in rural Australia. By studying veterinary science, I feel I will have the opportunity to make a difference to not only companion and production animals, but also the people that make up these communities as these animals are so often heavily relied upon as a lifestyle/income. I am passionate about the health and welfare of livestock animals and wish to make a high standard of veterinary care accessible and available in rural and regional communities.” Her character referee, who is in charge of a rural veterinary practice, has so much confidence in Lilly’s capabilities that he offered her a place for six years in his practice to be trained in vet nursing and reception and to generally get experience in veterinary practice. Lilly has achieved all this despite considerable family upset. In 2018 her father was diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia, now needs 24/7 care, and Lilly is living eight hours away for her studies.

The Hilda Jamieson Scholarship 

For a woman who has completed her first degree the year before, is going on to further studies, and has considerable community service. This year we have joint winners Neave Taylor and Li Yi Wang.

Neave has completed Hons I (Nov 2022) in Bachelor of Science/Bachelor Advanced Studies in the Faculty of Science at The University of Sydney and has been accepted into the DPhil in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at Oxford starting in October this year. She has received seven awards and has a HD average for her academic record so far. One of her referees says: ‘She is one of the most outstanding students of her cohort across her whole undergraduate career…. ‘a truly outstanding communicator of science’ with an ‘uncanny ability to address and solve scientific problems’. ‘Her internship at the CSIRO to enhance laboratory skills in the face of a reduced laboratory exposure due to COVID interruptions highlights her approach to adversity.’  Neave has also contributed to her society both within the Science school as a Peer Mentor in Chemistry and leader in the Chemistry Society and beyond as a Smith Family mentor to a primary student, volunteer at Our Big Kitchen, and convenor of the Sydney University Marching Band.

Li YI (Lili) is enrolled in Bachelor of Science (Honours)/Doctor of Medicine at The University of Sydney. She has won ten awards and has a HD average. She would use the award to widen her research contacts and help to pay her university fees thereby reducing her need for part-time employment. This year, Lili is undertaking honours research about the role of X-linked genes in melanoma progression, whose under expression could contribute to the higher mortality rate in males. Since melanoma is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, she is passionate about deepening our current understanding of its genetic drivers, with the possibility of devising new therapeutics. Her referee says Lili is a ‘very bright and capable student who has been a tremendous asset to our team’. Lili has contributed to the community through the Combined Medicine Society, St John’s Ambulance, Project Hope which supports disadvantages children in rural China, “Jeans for Genes”, and the Big Kitchen.

Tempe Mann Travelling Scholarship

This award is presented annually to a woman enrolled as research masters or research doctoral degree second or third year students at The University of Sydney, or those who have a first degree or masters from the University of Sydney, and are enrolled for a research doctorate at another university (listed on the Australian Universities’ list) with campuses in NSW or ACT. The Tempe Mann Travelling Scholarship is awarded to a woman undertaking a short period of advanced research or course work in any field, at an interstate or overseas university or equivalent organisation.

The winner for 2023 is Hope Tanudisastro.

Hope is enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Sydney and also a Doctor of Medicine (MD) which she has paused for two years in order to pursue her PhD studies full time. She expects to complete the PhD in June 2025. Her thesis topic is Profiling the landscape of short tandem repeats (STRs) and structural genetic variation in human immunity. She will use the scholarship to support her accommodation and living costs while in the US for four months to conduct translational structural genetic variation research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with Prof Michael Talkowski who is a world leader in developing structural genetic variation analysis workflows and in applying these pipelines to large cohorts.