12 November 2008

Success is in 2009 Queensland Rhodes Scholar Caitlin Goss’s genes.

The University of Queensland graduate was this afternoon (Wednesday, November 12) announced the winner of the prestigious scholarship to Oxford University in England.

While Ms Goss is the daughter of former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss, sister of 2007 Queensland Rhodes Scholar Ryan Goss and granddaughter of 1927 scholar Konrad Hirschfeld, it is her strong academic achievement and personal qualities that made her shine out from the other 21 scholarship applicants.

Ms Goss graduated from UQ with a Bachelor of Arts (first-class honours)/ Bachelor of Laws, was awarded a University Medal in 2006 and graduated from Brisbane Girls Grammar School with an OP 1 in 2001.

Even with distinguished roots, Ms Goss had humble expectations of herself.

“The other applicants were terrifyingly impressive,” she said.

“It was surreal when I first heard I had won.

“I got out and called my mother. She was a bit teary.”

In September 2009, she will travel to Oxford University to study a Bachelor of Civil Laws, allowing her to expand her knowledge of post-conflict law reform.

Work experience with the Australian Law Reform Commission had shown her how law reform could have an impact on the community through improving the laws surrounding issues such as medical privacy and the sentencing of criminals.

Ms Goss hoped her studies would allow her to help set up new legal systems in countries recovering from war.

“I’m interested in law reform in general and in the immediate term see myself practicing this overseas in post-conflict situations,” she said.

“In the longer term I’d love to come back to Australia and apply what I’ve learned.”

Ms Goss said she won the award through the support of many people in the UQ community.

“What’s so nice about the award is that I can share it with a number of people who have been my mentors and teachers,” she said.

“At UQ, Dr Michelle Boulous-Walker, Dr Jon Crowe and Professor Suri Ratnapala have been such a great help and support and an inspiration as a part of my studies.”

Rhodes Scholarships, founded in 1902 under the will of the late Cecil John Rhodes, are tenable at the University of Oxford for an initial two years, with the possibility of a third.

Candidates must be aged between 19 and 25 years and be citizens of the country from which they are selected.

Scholarships are assigned annually in Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the United States, Germany, British Caribbean, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Kenya and Hong Kong.

Since the scheme began, more than 500 Australian Rhodes Scholars have been selected. Women became eligible in 1972.

The first Queensland Rhodes Scholarship was awarded in 1904 to Arthur Stanley Roe, five years before an Act of Parliament was passed to set up The University of Queensland.

The qualities set out by the late Cecil Rhodes for those seeking Rhodes Scholarships include academic and intellectual excellence, integrity of character, respect for fellow beings and a capacity for leadership. Sporting prowess is an advantage, but not a necessity.

Ms Goss is The University of Queensland’s eighth Queensland Rhodes Scholar in a row.

Media: Tegan Taylor at UQ Communications (07 3365 2659).