2017 Wimmera region scholarship recipients

A passion for problem solving and creativity

A passion for maths and science coupled with a craving for creativity have steered Ashleigh Miller towards an architecture degree at The University of Melbourne with the support of a Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholarship.

Ashleigh, who attended Horsham College, is a self-proclaimed ‘maths-science kid in school and arts kid outside of school’.

“I always enjoyed the problem solving of maths and science – there was something satisfying about having a problem and working from the top to the bottom of the page to work out the answer. The creativity comes a lot from my mum. One of her jobs is running the local arts shop. I’d often do scrapbooking and canvases with her and spent time running classes for younger kids teaching them too,” she said.

Ashleigh also had the opportunity to travel to Horsham’s sister city in China for two weeks in year 10 where she spent a week in a school and a week travelling with eight of her peers (watch a short video about the experience).

“The trip opened my eyes up to the importance of learning different perspectives and ways of doing things – it was a really incredible opportunity. It was also fascinating to see how things are built and use space differently – like towns built on the side of mountains,” she said.

The scholarship, which provides students from the Wimmera Region the opportunity to study at the University of Melbourne while living on campus at Ormond College, will enable Ashleigh to continue exploring her fascination with buildings along with her interests in design, creativity and problem solving via a degree in Architecture.

“Architecture and design is where you can combine a group of skills to create something and move forwards. Once I graduate I’d love to find the opportunity to work across a range of projects and develop my own style,” she said.

As for the long-term future, Ashleigh’s goals are simple.

“Everything I read about the scholarship pointed to values that mirror mine. I value the people I work with and want to share the knowledge and experiences I gain to inspire and create positive environments. In the future I want to be able to support the people that got me here,” she said.

A big ambition for first in family

Driven by a passion for human rights and international politics, Sienna Amarant will be the first person in her family to attend university and will undertake a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics & International Study thanks to the support of a Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholarship.

Sienna, who attended Stawell Secondary College, has been involved in leadership and mentoring throughout all her school life, but it was only in her more senior years that she started to reflect on the importance of these roles and how they could impact on the people around her.

“I’ve always been involved in leadership activities via smaller roles like being a school ambassador, every year there was something I was involved in. In the senior years I started to really understand the importance of it. I grew a lot in confidence and learned a lot as a House and School Captain, and I wanted to encourage other kids to pursue the same opportunities in leadership,” she said.

Her participation in leadership activities, combined with exposure to subjects such as Legal Studies, Health & Human Development and Global Politics, are what led Sienna to choose to study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and International Studies at the University of Melbourne.

“They were the subjects that had a worldly view and opened my mind about issues that I wasn’t exposed to growing up in a rural community, they inspired me to work hard to understand different people and cultures and how they function,” she said.

“I’m particularly interested in learning how I can promote and provide access to human rights for all through social policy – particularly when it comes to women and education. I believe that if we can keep helping people obtain high-quality education, particularly in developing countries, it can empower them to fight for their own rights, and subsequently improve the wellbeing of themselves and those around them,” she said.

Sienna’s aspirations for the future? She wants to learn as much as she can and she wants to help other people. We look forward to being part of the world she’s striving to create.

The Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholarships are awarded to two students from the Wimmera region in Western Victoria who exhibit passion, commitment to study and participation in leadership and community activities. The scholarship is a partnership between The Fielding Foundation, Ormond College and the Menzies Foundation. The scholarships support residency at Ormond College while completing an undergraduate degree at The University of Melbourne. The scholarship is valued at $45,000 over three years.

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