2020 New Colombo Plan Scholars

High-achievers chosen as 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholars

High-achievers chosen as 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholars

Indo-Pacific exchanges set to prepare scholars for impactful careers.

Four high-performing University of Wollongong (UOW) students will be heading into the Indo-Pacific region next year, having been selected as New Colombo Plan Scholars.

Four UOW scholars were selected for 2020: Liam Mackay, Mary Pilkinton, Rubaiyat (Ruby) Evans and Elizabeth Hinchey.

Ruby was named an NCP Fellow, an honour reserved for the top-ranked candidate for each host location. Fellows are awarded an additional $1000 bursary for study materials and play a greater leadership and promotional role.

UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, witnessed the scholarship presentations at a launch event in Canberra on Monday 25 November 2019.

“Congratulations to all of our 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholars.

“I am very proud to see such high-achieving students selected to represent our University and Australia.

“They each demonstrate a deeply held sense of purpose and an ambition to have a positive impact in their field throughout our region and I wish them every success,” Professor Wellings said.

Improving the Australia-Indonesia relationship

NCP Fellow, Ruby Evans, who is completing a Bachelor of International Studies and a Bachelor of Laws in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, will be heading to Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University to gain an in depth understanding of Indonesia’s social, political and historical context, and its foreign policy.

“I believe the longevity of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is dependent on ensuring professionals across a broad range of fields are able to demonstrate an appreciation for Indonesian language, culture and history.

“I want to be part of the next generation of Australian professionals who are equipped to approach our Indonesian neighbours in a culturally respectful manner supported by an intimate knowledge of the country and its language,” Ruby said.

Global growth through engineering

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) student Elizabeth Hinchey is heading to Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea for two semesters as an exchange student to study robot mechanics, mechatronics, mechanobiology, micro-nano mechanics, combustion and environmental engineering and manufacturing process design as well as undertaking thesis research.

The aspiring aerospace engineer will also be studying Korean and hopes to secure an internship opportunity with an international aerospace engineering company operating in the Republic of Korea.

“It is vital for Australia’s growth to connect with international leaders in the Indo-Pacific through the global business of engineering and enable countries to thrive by sharing research and resources.

“The New Colombo Plan program will help me towards my career goal of being an aerospace engineer and establish connections with Korea, an engineering leader in the Indo-Pacific.” Elizabeth said.

Environmental sustainability in business

Liam Mackay, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce in International Business and a Bachelor of Laws, will be learning Mandarin before heading to China’s Shanghai University for four months where he will study international financial and business management, cross-cultural management, Asian and world economics and strategic management.

Afterwards, Liam hopes secure an internship in Singapore’s National Environment Agency to gain insights into how Singapore develops sustainable business practices, or in the Singaporean office of an Australian corporation to gain first-hand experience of how an Australian business operates in an international setting.

Liam believes the combination of the two experiences will equip him well for his future international business career.

“I am very passionate about helping big business, who contribute greatly to climate change, reduce the detrimental impact they are having on our environment.

“China is developing an incredible amount of sustainable energy sources and investing a lot of money into becoming more environmentally friendly. Singapore is beginning to focus on this area and has a lot of global connections.

“A study component and internship to these two countries will give me invaluable experience, particularly around environmental sustainability in business,” Liam said.

Sustainable development in the South Pacific

Mary Pilkinton, who is undertaking a Bachelor of Science (Honours) as a Dean’s Scholar in the Faculty of Social Sciences, will be heading to Fiji to study sustainable development and environmental change at the University of the South Pacific.

Inspired by her historic family connections to the Pacific Island states of Fiji and Kiribati, as well as her own travel to Palau and the Solomon Islands, Mary plans to pursue a career in academia and undertake research focused on the South Pacific.

“I’ve grown up hearing stories about the Pacific, and the importance of the Australia-Pacific relationship.

“Despite Pacific countries being some of our closest neighbours, many Australians know very little about them. 

“I would like to improve Australians’ understanding and relationships with the Pacific through the NCP program and my future research endeavours exploring the links between development and environmental management, particularly how sustainable tourism and gender equality can promote economic, social and environmental sustainability.” 

The 2020 cohort brings to 19 the number of UOW students who have selected as New Colombo Plan Scholars since the program’s inception in 2014.


Caption: The University of Wollongong’s 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholars (from left): Liam Mackay, Ruby Evans, Elizabeth Hinchey and Mary Pilkinton.