It was a great honour to present the inaugural Lord Mayor's Scholarship for Women to a second-year university student last week.
University of Newcastle Bachelor of Law and Social Science student Jessica Bagnall, 19, was the first recipient after achieving outstanding academic results in her first year of tertiary studies. Female undergraduates or honours students at the University who are resident of the Newcastle are eligible for the annual $2,500 scholarship.
The new bursary emerged from last year's International Women’s Day theme, Make it Happen, and the aims of the annual celebration.
The council approved an annual $2,500 scholarship for a woman studying at the university to help her cover the costs of tuition and of living without a full-time job. I was thrilled with this development because we have so many bright, talented young women in Newcastle who need financial assistance with their education to help them become valuable contributors to our community and economy.
Jessica, who works around 20 hours a week at a Newcastle pub to support herself, hopes to work as a human rights lawyer and help refugees in Australia. It was an absolute delight to meet this wonderful young lady and I look forward to following her progress for the remainder of her studies and throughout her career. Newcastle is a refugee welcome zone, so I can see her benefiting the city for years to come.