13 February 2012

Balancing school, sport and cultural pursuits has paid dividends for northside resident Damian Maher, who will begin his first year studies at The University of Queensland with a prestigious $60,000 scholarship for academic excellence.

Mr Maher, of Bridgeman Downs, who was the Dux and Music Vice-Captain of St Joseph’s School, Gregory Terrace, begins his Bachelor of Economics/Laws studies at UQ St Lucia.

He will attend a formal ceremony at the St Lucia campus on Sunday, February 19 when UQ Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships, UQ Excellence Scholarships, as well as a number of industry-sponsored UQ Merit Scholarships will be awarded.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Debbie Terry will host the event.

Mr Maher, who has been awarded a UQ Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship valued at $12,000 a year for five years, said putting in the time and effort, and effective time management were the keys to his academic success.

“I wanted to come to UQ because it has one of the best reputations for academic excellence in law and economics in the southern hemisphere,” he said.

While at school, Mr Maher, his fellow students and teachers helped Eddie’s Van, which provides breakfast for homeless people.

He also performed unpaid maths tutoring for Year 8-12 students; and played flute, alto sax, piccolo and sang in the Terrace Jazz Orchestra, Symphony Wind Ensemble and Celebration Orchestra.

He volunteered at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Aspley, which he plans to continue this year.

Mr Maher’s achievements include receiving a school service award; and he was a co-winner of Australia's largest and most prestigious national secondary school debating competition, the Evatt Trophy competition, which emulates decisions carried out by the United Nations Security Council.

His ultimate goal is to work at the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organisation.

UQ’s Academic Scholarship program was launched in 2008, with the first scholarships being awarded for 2009 admissions. Almost 1000 Academic scholarships have been awarded in the past few years.

The scholarships are open to Year 12 and gap year students who are Australian citizens, or international students who have completed Years 11-12 in Australia.

Selection is by a panel of faculty representatives chaired by UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and is based on a range of factors including applicants’ academic, leadership and community service achievements. The panel also aims to award the scholarships across a range of programs and high schools.

The University received more than 1600 applications for these scholarships in 2012, with more than 500 applicants achieving an OP1.

This year’s winners include:

• UQ Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships (59 awarded), each valued at $12,000 per year for up to five years (overall value, $60,000).

• UQ Excellence Scholarships (128 awarded), valued at $6000 per year for up to four years (overall value $24,000).

• UQ Merit Scholarships (158 awarded - including 26 sponsored by industry groups – Boeing, DELL), valued at $6000 for the first year of study.

More information: www.uq.edu.au/scholarships

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248