28 September 2010

Former Trinity Anglican School, Cairns student Balawyn Jones was awarded a $24,000 UQ Excellence Scholarship this year to study Arts/Law, placing her one step closer to a career in politics.

Balawyn’s potential study choices were decided when her family’s Cape Tribulation property was affected by a local council ruling denying building rights.

“One of the reasons I applied for the UQ scholarship was that my university fund was invested in the piece of land,” she said.

“I want to use my studies in geography and law to go into politics to campaign on environmental issues.”

Balawyn said the UQ scholarship met half her college fees, which had been augmented by a Cairns City Council bursary to assist in buying text books.

Last year she achieved an OP1, was dux of the school and vice-captain.

“My friends, family and teachers inspired me a lot and influenced me in my career decisions,” she said.

“They encouraged me to dream large.

“Growing up in a regional area has given me a different perspective.”

While at school, Balawyn and her friends raised money through a number of initiatives, including by making friendship bracelet bands for the Boys Industrial Home, an orphanage for abused and abandoned children in Sri Lanka.

It’s still a cause dear to her heart, and this semester she is organising a cocktail night to raise further funds for the Boys Industrial Home, which supports children under working age.

Recently one of the Home’s residents has undertaken a university degree, a significant achievement for an orphan in a developing country.

She was also in the National Science final run by BHP Billiton in Melbourne, designing a wastewater treatment plant which could be implemented in developing countries.

Balawyn chose UQ for her studies because of the beauty of the St Lucia campus and the range of study choices available.

Her college, St John’s is “one of the best”.

“I can highly recommend it,” she said.

She advised any students contemplating applying for university scholarships to “just do it.”

“You don’t have anything to lose. I never thought I’d get a UQ scholarship, but I was pleasantly surprised.”

UQ’s undergraduate scholarship program is the largest in Queensland and one of the most generous in Australia.

Each year The University of Queensland awards hundreds of scholarships to Year 12 school leavers and gap year students.

Ranging in value from $6000 for the first year of study to $60,000 over five years, UQ’s Academic Scholarships are awarded to very high achievers including students who have experienced educational disadvantage due to long-term financial hardship, geographic isolation, or as a result of their Indigenous background.

UQ sporting scholarships are also available to students who excel in their chosen field.

More than 20 scholarships ranging in value from $6000 for one year of study to $18,000 over three years are awarded annually.

For more information or to apply, visit www.uq.edu.au/scholarships.

Applications close 5pm, Monday 1 November, 2010.

Media: Jan King 07 3365 1120