Published on 4 December 2012
4 December 2012
An Environmental Science student, who left school in Year 9 but turned her life around to study at the University of the Sunshine Coast, will be awarded a prestigious scholarship from Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week.
Ashleigh Morris, 23, of Mudjimba will be among 40 Australian university students to receive the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Award at a special ceremony at Parliament House tomorrow (6 December).
The award provides $53,500 scholarships to 20 high-calibre undergraduate students and $63,500 scholarships to 20 postgraduate students so they can undertake international study and work experience in Asia.
Ashleigh, who plans to study waste management at USC’s partner institution Sataya Wacana Christian University in Salatiga, Indonesia, said she was thrilled to gain the scholarship after spending her mid-year break completing the online application process.
“I had to explain how my studies and internship in Indonesia would support and further the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia,” she said.
“This award really sets the bar at where I want to be. For me, this opportunity is massive. It doesn’t get much bigger than this.”
The high-achieving student said she realised the extent of Indonesia’s waste management issues during a recent holiday there.
“I really want to be an innovator and create new technologies that improve waste management and recycling,” Ashleigh said.
Ashleigh, who graduated from USC’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway program in 2010, said her community work with Coolum District Coast Care had featured strongly in her scholarship application.
“It proved that I was involved in the community and trying to make a difference in my home country,” she said. “I have really turned my life around since I was at school and now want to be a leader in my field.”
— Michelle Widdicombe