VC Leadership Scholarship recipients with Patricia Davidson

UOW scholarship for new leaders in the making

UOW scholarship for new leaders in the making

The 2023 Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Scholarship recipients celebrated at UOW

In times of the global economic crisis, grim climate change prospects and a housing conundrum, we’re in desperate need of change-makers to protect the future of our world.

In 2022, the Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship was launched at the University of Wollongong (UOW). And this year, for the second time, it has brought amazing talent to the Illawarra. Today (Wednesday 8 March), the new Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership scholars will be officially honoured and celebrated during an intimate ceremony on the Wollongong campus.

“Paths are made by walking – as an Indigenous saying goes. Our new scholars may not know their whole academic journey ahead and what will happen right after it, but they’re in the right place for a fantastic intellectual adventure. I can’t wait to witness the journey of exploration and transformation their UOW experience will take them on,” said UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship was established to inspire a new generation of young, local, passionate leaders and give them knowledge and skills to become the future change-makers from and for the region of Illawarra and beyond.

VC Leadership scholars with the VC and staff

As a part of the scholarship, each student undertakes a series of inspiring leadership training seminars. They also receive academic and industry mentorship, being matched with high-level companies and institutes, and a chance to attend networking, leadership and global study opportunities to cultivate their skills as future leaders. 

This year, from more than 100 applications, the panel selected 12 scholars. The awarded students hail from many parts of the Illawarra, Eden-Monaro and South Western Sydney. They will pursue a wide range of degrees, from engineering, science and law to business, arts and nursing.

One of these students is Kayne Cox from Kanahooka High School in Dapto, who has just started a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours).His passion for this field was fuelled by his childhood hobbies: gardening, birdwatching and scuba-diving, as well as his Aboriginal heritage.

As a proud Indigenous man, belonging to both the people of the Yuin nation and the Wodi Wodi people of the Dharawal nation, Kayne said his degree aligns with his Aboriginal cultural responsibilities to care for Country.Student Kayne Cox, the VC Leadership Scholar Kayne Cox, a Vice-Chancellor's Leaderships Scholarship recipient, is a proud Indigenous man who wants to enhance the voice of Country.

“My heart and culture have told me for many years that I must lead spaces that improve the environment. This scholarship will help me achieve my goals, as I am now able to focus solely on my studies. My dream is to become an environmental advisor for the government or in another sector, where my learned knowledge can be applied to enhance the voice of Country.”

Another VC Leadership scholar, Kas Small, came to Wollongong from the small coastal town of Broulee, south of Batemans Bay. In her regional school, St Peters Anglican College Broulee, she excelled in geography, introduced to her by a passionate teacher. It’s no wonder that she later spent a year in Finland on an exchange, and at UOW, decided to pursue a double degree: a Bachelor of International Studies and a Bachelor of Laws.

It’s the mix of global awareness and appreciation for the locality that has become the guiding force for her future career.

“During my time abroad, I truly understood the value of global connectivity and the growing importance of international outlook, especially in today’s increasingly borderless world. This pushed me into the realm of International Studies, learning about the relations between states and exploring some of the world’s major problems. In the future, I’d love to work in foreign affairs or for an international organisation,” Kas said.

“At the same time, being raised regionally, especially in such a farming-dominant area, has given me a perspective on life that is unattainable in a large city. The sense of community in small, country towns is so tangible, and thanks to this, I have a strong appreciation for the values of hard work and collaboration. I will carry these with me as I move out of my region in search of opportunities, and hopefully, I can give back to the community at some point.


  • Kayne Cox, Bachelor of Environmental Science, Illawarra
  • Helena Hollamby, Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Illawarra
  • Emma Moses, Bachelor of Nursing, Eden-Monaro
  • Kas Small, Bachelor of International Studies - Bachelor of Laws, Eden-Monaro
  • Aleyah Jabakhanji, Bachelor of Engineering, Illawarra
  • Paris Bamford, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Illawarra
  • Will Douglas, Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics - Bachelor of Laws, Illawarra
  • Elijah Hurley, Bachelor of Economics and Finance - Bachelor of Laws, Illawarra
  • Jake Bradley, Bachelor of International Studies - Bachelor of Business, Illawarra
  • Madeleine Saxby, Bachelor of Arts - Bachelor of Laws, Illawarra
  • Jessica Cork, Bachelor of Nursing, South Western Sydney
  • Hussain Al Saaid, Bachelor of Computer Science, South Western Sydney


The Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Scholarship is valued at $30,000 per year and awarded for the length of a student's undergraduate degree program (when studying full-time). Each scholar also gets the chance to undertake a series of inspiring leadership training seminars. Additionally, the scholars receive academic and industry mentorship and will be invited to attend networking, leadership and global study opportunities to foster their skills as future leaders.