Five FEIT students have been selected for 2017 Westpac Young Technologists Scholarships valued at up to $25,000 to support them in their studies.
Mathu Chockalingham (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Diploma in Professional Engineering Practice) and Blake Harrold, Jessica Ong, Kritika Khanna and Sharan Lao (all Bachelor of Business Bachelor of Science in Information Technology) are acknowledged for their passion to bring about change through cutting-edge technology, and for the impact this will have on Australia’s economy.
Susan Bannigan, CEO of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, said the Technology Scholarship is one of three key priorities for the Foundation.
“Technology is at the forefront of our future and permeates every aspect of our lives. This Scholarship aims to not only increase diversity in the industry but increase the number of people choosing a career in this field,” she said.
“Our Scholars will help strengthen Australia's pool of local talent and build a cohort of technology-literate future leaders.”
For the FEIT students this Scholarship provides new opportunities to network with other innovators, as well as financial support of up to $5000 per year for five years.
“This Scholarship is an opportunity to get my foot into the IT industry, meet amazing individuals and challenge myself by putting myself out there, talking to people I normally wouldn’t, and grow as a person. The support network offered by the other Westpac scholars and coordinators is fantastic; they make sure you’re comfortable and that you’re never alone,” said Jessica.
For Kritika, it is an opportunity to combine passion for technology with her career aspirations.
“It gives me potential to learn, grow and succeed and challenge myself. It is more than a financial reward, it is a platform to look beyond educational aspects and be involved in the network experience. Being a Westpac scholar has already helped me boost my career goals and enhanced my learning and experience, “she said.
All Scholarship recipients become members of the Westpac Scholars Alumni program with access to networking, learning and development opportunities.
And of course any additional income for a financially strapped student is always welcome!
“The scholarship has eased some financial concerns, allowing me to look away from the financial stress and enabling me to focus on my education,” said Kritika, with Jessica agreeing it has alleviated some financial worries.
“I feel like I can now enjoy my university career a little bit more without having to worry about being too short on funds,” she said.
Susan Bannigan says that while money can help launch a vision, it takes a network of inspired and inspiring people to sustain it, and hence all Young Technologists Scholarship recipients will be part of the Westpac 100 Scholars Network, connecting those with bold ideas to build a better future for all Australians.
And advice from the successful 2017 for applicants for the 2018 Scholarship Program?
Mathu says the interview itself isn’t very formal so go for it!
“Just be yourself. Show why you want this scholarship. Talk about your passion, your ideas, your achievements or what you will achieve. So just be your passionate self and Westpac will love you!
Jessica also advises letting the panel know exactly what you have done!
“Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments! You might feel that it’s too cocky or arrogant but this is exactly what you should do. And just be yourself. The panel just wants to get to know you, everyone is incredibly friendly, so just relax and answer everything to the best of your ability,” she said.
Blake advises everyone who is eligible should give it a go.
“I highly recommend anyone who's viable for this scholarship to apply. Even if you don't think you're a 'passionate or inspiring individual', your interviewer might recognise that really you are!” he said.
For Sharan too its about seeing how others see you.
"The scholarship gave me hope, not only in regards to financial assistance but also in myself. It helped me realise that I should believe in myself and the fact that I DO have potential even if it's not obvious to me. My advice is, when you're applying and being interviewed, don't be afraid to show who you are and what you aspire to because this scholarship really opens up many opportunities that will highly benefit your university career."
The Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship is one of five scholarships offered through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation. For information about it and other prizes and scholarships for FEIT students visit the scholarships page.