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Katura sinks teeth into scholarship

Katura Halleday

While most teenagers unwind by endlessly scrolling TikTok, Katura Halleday finds comfort in the soothing sounds of Spielberg's blood-thirsty thriller, Jaws.

But Katura Halleday isn’t most teenagers.

She’s a published illustrator, TED-X speaker, UN Youth Ambassador, Young Archibald finalist and most recently, a Bond University Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient.

And when she’s not tied up with the above commitments or watching a man-eating shark terrorise the good people of Amity Island, she is passionately advocating for disadvantaged women to have equal access to education.

“We went on a family holiday to Fiji when I was 11, and that was the first time I became aware that people around the world live very different lives to me,” says Miss Halleday.

“Over the years, I was fortunate enough to travel to a number of countries including Africa, and I realised that I wanted to use my privilege to help support people that hadn’t been given the same opportunities as me.”

Despite excelling academically throughout her schooling, it wasn’t until Miss Halleday picked up a paint brush that she discovered her real passion. 

“Art was something that I was always interested in. My parents were also really supportive and encouraged me to go to art workshops that were often full of people much older than me."

“This helped me develop creative skills from quite a young age and I’ve been building on these ever since.”

In 2019, Miss Halleday was awarded Gold at the Young Australian Art Awards and later went on to become a finalist in the Young Archibald Awards.

“A few years ago, I realised that I can help other people through my art.”   

“I illustrated a book with my sister for a family friend and all of the profits were donated to a charity to help disadvantaged girls access education in Africa.

“This was a pivotal moment for me and is a big reason why I started 8x8 To Educate.” 

8x8 To Educate is a not-for-profit organisation that resells artwork created by the community, to the community to help put girls through high school and university in Mozambique and Tanzania.

“So far we’ve raised enough money to provide 15 girls with equal access to education – and this is only the beginning.” 

At just 18, the Bachelor of Entrepreneurial Transformation and Global Studies student is the first to admit she’s got a lot on her plate. 

“I run a cleaning business, have public speaking engagements, and am trying to do well in my studies here at Bond. On top of that I'm trying to expand 8X8 To Educate. So, I guess you could say I have a lot going on," laughs Miss Halleday.

“But you can’t help anybody if you’re exhausted! So I’ve learnt to prioritise taking time for me – and that means spending time with my two dogs – Mellow and Ari. 

“And when it’s been a really big week and I just need to put my feet up, I’ll put on a Jaws film or Jurassic Park, eat a load of ice cream and completely relax.”

Miss Halleday hopes to work in international relations with the ultimate goal of effecting legislative change to enable women worldwide to achieve equal access to education. 

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