Linden Little’s legacy to continue at UTS
UTS and the Slingsby Foundation celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Linden Little Engineering Equity Scholarship, a scholarship that has made an immeasurable difference to the lives of UTS students. Many of the scholarship’s past and current recipients were reunited with the Slingsby Foundation to share their experiences and how it impacted their lives. Most significantly, to mark this important milestone, a new gift from the foundation was announced that will allow the scholarship to continue for another five years.
The new gift of $150,000 will provide a first-year engineering student at UTS with $30,000 to cover their first two years of study, giving a much-needed boost to help them make the transition from high school to university.
Omaira Kalo, who received the scholarship in 2009, and now works as a civil engineer at Lendlease, shared the impact it made to her studies: “I was very excited. I wanted to get good marks so that I could set myself apart from other competitors applying for a job… With the scholarship, I had more time to focus on my studies and planning my career rather than worrying about part-time work.”
One of UTS’s longest–awarded scholarships, the Linden Little Engineering Equity Scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance to students who are experiencing educational disadvantages such as financial hardship, personal illness or disability, or coming from a migrant or refugee background.
“Providing a scholarship for the first couple of years of someone’s studies is about giving them a kickstart,” said Slingsby Foundation founder and director David Hardie. “All we want is for them to make the most of it.”
David established the Linden Little Engineering Equity Scholarship at UTS in 2002, in memory of his grandfather, Linden Little, who passed away in 2001. David said that as the founder of Slingsby Holdings, his grandfather was a humble individual whose success was the result of sheer hard work.
Reflecting on his grandfather, David says, “He was so understated and unassuming in that ‘Oh, why is my name up in lights?’ way. But I know that deep down, he would be really chuffed that in his name, we’re supporting some fantastic young people.”
“It’s been incredibly satisfying to work with UTS for these 15 years,” he added. “They’ve been responsive to my feedback, they involve me to the level that I’m able to participate, and they listen to what we want to achieve. I hope we’re able to continue that for many years to come.”
Speaking at the anniversary celebration, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and IT, Professor Ian Burnett, said: “At UTS, we have a fundamental commitment to social justice, which ties closely with a proud tradition of helping all students, no matter their background, to reach their full potential. It is part of our goal of becoming a world-leading university of technology. I am delighted and honoured that the Slingsby Foundation not only shares our vision, but will also walk with us on that journey.”
The celebration brought together many of the scholarship’s recipients, who shared how the scholarship helped them in their transition from high school to university.
“Moving from my home town of Coonamble, I didn’t really have a lot in the way of family or a financial support network,” recalled Jai Lynch, who is currently studying Bachelor of Engineering at UTS. “The scholarship allowed me to focus on my studies and figuring out my way around the city.”
“It gave me a lot of motivation and drive to finish the degree; because I reflected and thought, ‘someone is looking out for me, so it was only best to return the favour’,” said fellow scholarship recipient Francis Nguyen, who now works with the Australian Defence Force and also runs the Vietnamese Oztag Association.
“The scholarship made a big difference in my studies,” said Rafael Perez, who is completing his final year in engineering at UTS while working at Saacke Australia. “If I didn’t get it, I would’ve had to delay my studies. I might probably even be working in another field.”
The Linden Little Engineering Equity Scholarship is just one of the initiatives supported by the Slingsby Foundation.
David: Linden Little was my grand dad. He was born in 1912 and he passed away in 2001. And he left a significant legacy through sheer hard work over many years. When he passed away, we were keen to honour that legacy in a thoughtful way. So I came up with the idea that we would establish the Linden Little Memorial Scholarship, in memory of my grand dad.
It can be a really hard transition for a young person, when they first leave school, to effectively make their mark in the first couple of years at university. And my vision with the scholarship was to help somebody start university in a strong way to overcome some of those barriers, and to give someone an opportunity that they might not otherwise get, because simply through their background or their financial circumstances, that they might not actually be able to take on a course like this without this sort of boost.
Francis: I found out about the Linden Little Scholarship through my sister. She went through university not knowing there were scholarships available, and she didn’t want me to miss out on this opportunity.
Jai: I first heard about the scholarship through my high school. My careers co-ordinator was pretty big in showing us all of the equity scholarships and that sort of thing.
Shahd: My dad, he lost his job. So we were just financially like I just didn’t want to burden my parents with all the fees involved with university.
Omaira: I was a little bit nervous about the application process. English is my second language at the time, and I was still learning it. So I was worried that, with my thick accent, the person wouldn’t be able to understand what I was trying to say.
Rafael: I was surprised because, to be honest, I didn’t think I’d get it. I felt really happy. Very, very thankful.
Jai: Moving from Coonamble to the city, I didn’t really have family or financial support network, so I would’ve had to get a job, otherwise. Having the scholarship has definitely removed some of the distraction of part-time work. It’s definitely helped in the sense that I can focus on where I really wanted my career to go.
Omaira: I was able to buy text books. I was able to pay for my university fees, which was good to decrease my future debt.
Shahd: It gives me enough time to focus on my studies only, and not worry about other things.
Francis: When my grades started to slip a bit, I’d get called in by the sponsor co-ordinator at the time and get a quick catch-up on how I was going and give me some motivation to get back on track. And that’s what it actually did.
David: Providing a scholarship for the first couple of years of someone’s studies is about giving them a kickstart. And I’ve always totally understood the difference it’s making for these young people.
Rafael: I will say thank you, but I think that’s not enough. I would have to show them what their help has given me. So I will show them all that I’ve accomplished. And I think they will be proud.
Shahd: I just think I’m so lucky to have that support. And I just want to thank them a lot because, like I said, I can’t really imagine if I didn’t have this.
David: I’ve enjoyed so much the opportunity to stay in touch with many of the students during their studies and even after they’ve finished their degree. All we want is for them to make the most of it. Maybe in time, they can think about providing that sort of support for students in their own way. UTS is a terrific university. I have such respect for how they craft their courses, and in particular their commitment to providing meaningful work experience to students during their studies. It’s hard to believe that the scholarship has been going for 15 years already. It brings back wonderful memories of my grand dad. I know that deep down he would really chuffed that in his name, we’re supporting some fantastic young people. I hope that we’re able to continue that for many years to come.
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