Answering the call

Support for learning

On the 10th anniversary of the Learning and Development Scholarship Fund, Randi Morris looks back on what it has achieved.

Annually, UOW calls on alumni and friends to support the Learning and Development Scholarship Fund, which provides students with financial support to pursue their dreams. And every year this community has answered, illustrating the shared commitment to students.

This year we celebrate 10 years of the Learning and Development Scholarship Fund and its impact on students and UOW.

The scholarship benefits last far beyond the scholarship itself, serving to encourage and prepare students to be fierce competitors in the global workforce.

The Learning and Development scholarship provided pathways for an incredible journey for 2012 scholar, Monique Bax, who studied a Bachelor of Medical Biology. Bax used part of the scholarship during her honours year to purchase a laptop which allowed her to reduce her hours at work and hone in on her studies. This academic focus helped her achieve first class honours for her research into using induced pluripotent stem cells (stem cells from patients) to better understand Alzheimer’s disease.

“Getting a first class honours opened a lot of doors for me, and led me to where I am now – researching neurodegenerative diseases”, Bax says.

Bax is now completing her PhD at Illawarra Health and Research Institute (IHMRI) which involves using stem cells to better understand why brain cells die in neurodegenerative diseases. “I’ve successfully generated stem cells from skin cells donated by motor neurone disease patients and their families”, she notes.

Bax has leveraged her support from her Learning and Development Scholarship by excelling in her field and providing invaluable research outcomes for patients living with neurodegenerative diseases. The impact of her scholarship has had a ripple effect as she and her colleagues can now differentiate stem cells to cells of the brain and spine – mimicking what would happen in the body during development in a dish.

“I generate motor neurones to study why these cells die in motor neurone disease – and try to work out how we can stop it”.

We truly appreciate the generosity alumni and friends have shown through philanthropy over the last 10 years. Since 2007 more than 3000 donors have supported the Learning and Development Scholarship Fund raising nearly $600,000, enabling us to award 110 scholarships to deserving students like Monique. This is a remarkable show of philanthropic support as these scholarships are fully funded by alumni, community members and staff.

With your continued support, if only 450 of our 142,000 alumni gave $40 a month we would be able to endow the fund and help more of our students reach their potential.

Bax has plans to pay it forward through philanthropy by combining her skill sets, medical research and project management in construction, to build homes and use the profits to fund medical research. Bax sees how important philanthropy is every day and is grateful for the opportunities her scholarship provided during her studies and beyond.

Monique Bax
Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology, 2013
Currently studying Doctor of Philosophy