Members were finally able to meet some of our deserving 2021 awardees at the Celebrating Our Scholars event held on Thursday. It was worth the wait as this warm and intimate event enabled the executive to meet and present three of our scholars with their award certificates: Rhianne Scicluna – The Tempe Mann scholar, Halle Quang – the co-recipient of the national Barbara Hale Fellowship, and Natalie Purcell – the 2020 Education Trust awardee.
Halle Quang with President Tric Blombery and ET Chair Jane Baker
Rhianne Scicluna being presented
Natalie Purcell receiving her award
It was great to be able to meet safely in person, however, it was unfortunate that Sarah Clark – the 2021 Joan Bielski scholar – was unable to attend due to COVID affecting her family. Sarah sent some heartfelt words regarding being the recipient of this three-year scholarship:
“Financially attending university was filled with guilt and feelings of selfishness, that with every text book, computer or stationary item I needed I was taking money away from the family. I constantly questioned if I was doing the right thing studying at my age. While applying for the scholarship and reading about the Joan’s pioneering work and that of the GW-NSW I was inspired to think that maybe I was on the right path. Receiving the news, I had been awarded the Joan Bielski scholarship reinforced my belief I was doing the right thing.”
Sarah went on to say how “this second chance at education and improving my situation also provides an example to my children, that with hard work anything is possible and to never limit themselves.”
Everyone is thrilled for Sarah that she has completed her first year of a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Wollongong and obtained high results. She expressed that with the support of the scholarship, ‘she has ‘the drive and passion to succeed not only through the degree but perhaps through further study and beyond into the workforce.’ Sarah hopes to pursue her areas of interest within social work: advocacy, policy and mediation within family services, justice and aged care.
At the event members enjoyed hearing from each award recipient about their study plans and aspirations.
The Education Trust – with tax deductible status – supports several of these awards that inspire, support and encourage women to reach their potential through higher education. We thank all members and associates who have generously donated to the Trust and Graduate Women’s state awards program.
ET Chair Jane Baker and President Tric Blombery with Joan Bielski’s nieces and members, Louise and Helen Ward
National CIR, Shirley Randell with Halle Quang and her charming son Hudson
After a rigorous assessment and interview process, the Scholarship Co-convenors are delighted to announce the recipient of the third Joan Bielski Scholarship is Sarah Clark.
Sarah is in her first year of a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Wollongong. Her dedication to her studies has shown in her excellent grades and her academic referee conveyed: ‘I have absolute confidence in Sarah’s ability to complete her studies and pursue her career.’
Sarah and her eldest son are the first in their family to attend university and it was the desire to set an example that inspired Sarah to pursue higher education. As she stated, ‘My chosen degree in Social Work will provide me opportunity to advocate for marginalised people as Joan did, allow me to continue to provide a positive example to my children and allow me to reach my goals.’
Joan Bielski was a leading advocate and activist for equality for women in employment and education. She was a founding member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and the NSW Women in Education group. Joan was recognised for her work being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and also named Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her ‘service to the community, particularly through programs to encourage women’s participation in political life and through continued contributions to the principles of equal opportunity, access to education and social reform.’ The Joan Bielski Scholarship was made possible by a generous bequest from Joan who wanted other women to enjoy the ‘second chance’ that she experienced when attending university, as well as the generous donations of family, friends and GW-NSW members.
The previous recipients of this scholarship were both dedicated students who excelled in their studies. Alison Crowe is now a fully qualified Social Worker at Calvary Mater Hospital Newcastle, who has worked in Oncology, Haematology and Surgery. Kate Mulder went on to complete her Honours year in 2020.
We thank this year’s applicants and short listed candidates for their time and effort and wish them well with their continued studies. We also congratulate Sarah and look forward to the opportunity to present her award in person at a later date.