Prestigious scholarships awarded to future leaders

February 12, 2020

L-R: Aiden Kitchin, Indi Fergusson, Joshua Cooley, Sian Fennell, Vice Chancellor and President Professor Tim Brailsford, Olivia Smythe, Alissa Woods, Hayden Bygott, Michaela Wilson, Jackson Miller

Nine of Australia’s best and brightest Year 12 graduates have been awarded Vice Chancellor’s Elite Scholarships to attend Bond University.

The scholars were selected not only for their exceptional academic achievements but their proven leadership abilities and personal character. Many have also distinguished themselves in sport and the arts.

Bond University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said the scholarships were fitting recognition of 17 and 18-year-old students who had made extraordinary achievements in their schools and local communities.

“These are high-achieving, ambitious young people who have already distinguished themselves as school captains, duxes and community leaders,” Professor Brailsford said.

“Bond University’s role is to nurture their aspirations during their time on campus and beyond.”

Olivia Smythe attended Mercedes College in Perth and will study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and a Bachelor of Laws.

She hopes to specialise in paediatrics, nutrition and the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

“It's very surreal,” Ms Smythe said at a welcome function hosted by Professor Brailsford.

“It's nice to be around all these people and it opens your eyes to the amazing opportunity you have here.

“So far it's been a great first three weeks and I'm loving it.”

Joshua Cooley can count on the support of at least one former student of his Melbourne school after accepting a Vice Chancellor’s Elite Scholarship.

Bond University Vice Chancellor and President Tim Brailsford also attended Mentone Grammar.

Mr Cooley was a Company Sergeant Major and medic in the Army Cadets and a recipient of an ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award.

He also excelled as a competitive swimmer and performed in lead roles in school productions.

Mr Cooley aspired to become an orthopaedic surgeon since the age of eight but exposure to the law during Bond University’s National High School Mooting Competition made him reconsider his options.

As a result, he will study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Laws at Bond.

Mr Cooley said he was adapting to a new lifestyle on the Gold Coast.

“The entire vibe and the culture up here … everyone is so warm and welcoming and it’s going to be nice experiencing that for the next four years.”

Indi Fergusson attended Methodist Ladies' College in Melbourne and will study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science.

She is interested in going into paediatrics.

“I feel like I've been here for so long,” Ms Fergusson said.

“I've met so many new people and being here is so inspiring. Everyone is like-minded and amazing.”

Ms Fergusson was drama captain and social service captain at her school, is an accomplished cross-country runner, and helped raise $15,000 for an orphanage in Thailand following a school trip to the country.

A classical ballet dancer, she is also a long-term member of the Point Lonsdale Surf Life Saving Club where she is an instructor.

Hayden Bygott, of Buderim, attended Siena Catholic College in Sippy Downs before completing his schooling at St Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane, where he was school captain.

He will study a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws at Bond University.

"I'm absolutely loving it here," Mr Bygott said.

"It's such a social place and there's so many opportunities.

"It's a very motivating environment to be in."

Mr Bygott is an accomplished debater who played rugby and rowed at Nudgee.

He is also a surf lifesaver and a member of the Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club.

Jackson Miller of Adelaide will study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science but is also an accomplished drummer who made his professional debut at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe.

“I'm so passionate about music,” said Mr Miller, who attended Prince Alfred College.

“There’s so many talented individuals at Bond that there's bound to be some great musicians that I can start playing with.”

Mr Miller, who is also a keen long distance runner, hopes to become a sports physiotherapist.

Sian Fennell of the Gold Coast was the first person to complete the Queensland Academy for Health Sciences’ three-year International Baccalaureate program in just two years.

She was also the first person from Queensland to make 10 consecutive national cross-country championships.

Ms Fennell, who moved from Wollongong to the Gold Coast with her family two years ago, said securing the scholarship to Bond fulfilled a long-held ambition.

“I always wanted to study at Bond, I want to go into medicine, and currently I’m doing biomedical science, by taking the Vice Chancellor’s scholarship, it means that after I finish my biomedical science degree I can go into second-year medicine at Bond, and that makes it possible for me to do my second degree here as well, which in other circumstances wouldn’t be possible.”

Ms Fennell hopes to become a rural doctor.

Alissa Woods attended Fairholme College in Toowoomba and said a visit to Bond University for a mooting contest last year left a lasting impression on her.

“I really liked the way everything worked at Bond; there just seemed to be a lot of opportunity there, and also the teacher-to-student ratio was something I thought would suit me really well,” she said.

Ms Woods will study a Bachelor of International Relations and a Bachelor of Laws and said she’d had a fascination with law from an early age.

“My aunty’s a barrister and while she was studying for the bar exam, I always thought I was helping her by highlighting things from the rules and testing her knowledge.

“I started accompanying her to court and my passion for the law grew from there.”

Aidan Kitchin is a graduate of The Southport School and will study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and a Bachelor of Laws.

He hopes to work in healthcare in the areas of intellectual property, compliance and regulation.

“I was looking forward to going to Bond University so to get the scholarship ... I felt really privileged,” Mr Kitchin said.

“I’m loving it so far. The people are amazing and there’s so many opportunities. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”

Mr Kitchin plays tennis and basketball and was a delegate to the Gold Coast Junior Council while in high school.

Michaela Wilson was captain of A.B. Paterson College on the Gold Coast and will study a Bachelor of Communication and a Bachelor of Laws.

She opted to do a double degree to keep her career options open.

“(Bond) is such a social environment,” Ms Wilson said.

“Everyone is so welcoming and it's really a home away from home.

“I'm looking forward to figuring out more about my own career. I've always been a little bit unsure so I'm looking forward to finding some mentors to help me on that path.”