The Westpac Scholars Trust launched in 2014 when Westpac Group pledged $100 million to award 100 scholarships a year, forever, investing in a new generation of leaders to transform the future of Australia.
Each year, seven University of Wollongong (UOW) students are awarded a Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship, as part of a long-standing partnership between UOW and the Westpac Scholars Trust. This Scholarship is a competitive program, providing passionate and innovative STEM students with $15,000 over the course of their degree, plus $5,000 to attend the newly added Disruptive Leaders Program (DLP).
The DLP - a five-day residential in Singapore which brings Young Technologists Scholars together to learn, collaborate and connect through industry site visits, panel discussions, networking events and team challenges – saw Westpac take the first participants to Singapore in July 2023.
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) - Biomedical Engineering student and 2022 Young Technologist Beau Goddard says the program is a great opportunity for students in STEM.
“The Disruptive Leaders Program was an enriching experience. It gave me the chance to immerse myself in Singapore's dynamic tech and innovation ecosystem, connect with industry leaders, and gain insights into cutting-edge technologies, all of which broadened my perspective and inspired me to think innovatively in my studies and future career,” he says.
“It was great to engage with industry leaders and innovators from diverse backgrounds. The program provided a platform for networking and learning, and it was inspiring to witness firsthand how Singapore has become a global hub for technology and innovation.”
Co-recipient and Bachelor of Computer Science (Dean’s Scholar) - Software Engineering student Jade Harris echoes Beau’s thoughts and says the DLP helped her further understand and solidify her career path.
“I have learned a significant part of my personal purpose: to create social impact with my work through technology. Through seeing the possibilities of technology that people around the world are using to assist their community, it has really inspired me to be a part of creating change,” says Jade.
Outside of the DLP, Jade says the scholarship has been critical in helping her fund her degree.
“Alongside another scholarship, this support has been immense to allow me to pay my course fees completely, and this opportunity has driven me to try my best in every subject. I also used the scholarship funds to purchase a laptop which has been critical to my study,” says Jade.
Beau says he will use the remaining scholarship funding to support his biomedical research with an aim to innovate healthcare technology.
“I will also be using some of the funds for courses and workshops aligned with my field and set aside a portion for my future, including funding my plans for a master's degree in biomedical engineering at ETH Zurich, ensuring my long-term growth and expertise in the field,” says Beau.
“I would highly recommend others to apply for the program because it offers a unique chance to expand your horizons. It exposes participants to a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and provides access to influential individuals in their respective fields. The insights gained and connections made in Singapore can be invaluable for personal and professional growth, making it an opportunity not to be missed.”
Young Technologists Scholars for 2022 were Beau Goddard, Charlotte Byrnes, Jade Harris, Lisa Hutchinson, Arnav Singh, Thomas Karayiannis and Liam Pollitt.
The 2023 Westpac Scholars were announced in March this year, with seven UOW students awarded the Young Technologists Scholarships. Charlotte Mills, Mela Hoffman, Matthew Bond, Connor Weir, Rhyda Demaagd, Lauren Sheppard and Samantha Exposito will complete the DLP in Singapore in 2024.
The 2023 recipients of the Westpac Young Technologists Scholarships. Photo: Mark Newsham
This was also the first year a UOW student received the coveted Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship, awarded to Bachelor of Commerce (Finance)/Diploma of Languages (Mandarin) Rohan Simms to complete a university exchange in China.
“I am inspired by the ambitions of our University of Wollongong Westpac Scholars and we are proud to back them as future leaders who will contribute to a stronger Australia.”
- Westpac Scholars Trust CEO Amy Lyden