A La Trobe University student who has overcome adversity to fulfil her studies has received the prestigious Order of Australia Association Foundation Scholarship at a ceremony in Hobart on Saturday.
Bachelor of Arts and Law student Hannah Gandy, who attended The Pavilion School – a Victorian State Secondary School for students who have been disengaged or excluded from mainstream education – was recognised for her community work, including reengaging students in education.
Ms Gandy was the first student from The Pavilion to complete her VCE, and studied two university subjects in her final year through La Trobe’s challenging VCE Plus program.
As part of the scholarship, she will receive $40,000 towards her studies and an opportunity to build an ongoing mentor relationship with a member of the Order of Australia, who is eminent in Ms Gandy’s field of study.
Ms Gandy is an advocate for flexible learning schools and is employed as a youth outreach worker for Banyule Council. She is a mentor to students at The Pavilion School and works with La Trobe University to support students at disadvantaged schools.
Ms Gandy said the scholarship will make a significant difference while she completes her studies and focuses on a career working with young people.
“Knowing I can stay dedicated to my studies, without worrying about financial pressures, feels pretty incredible,” Ms Gandy said.
“Having access to a mentor in my chosen field will be of enormous benefit too. I have always wanted to work with young people, which has been a strong focus of my community work.
“Being able to share my aspirations and receive guidance from a mentor who is eminent in the field of law or politics will be extremely valuable.”
Ms Gandy’s exceptional academic achievements earned her early enrolment at La Trobe through the University’s ASPIRE program.
Now in her third-year of study, Ms Gandy is participating in La Trobe’s Hallmark program, which partners students with world-class researchers.
Ms Gandy is also registered in La Trobe’s Elite Athlete program and will represent Australia in the 2019 World Roller Games.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, congratulated Ms Gandy on receiving the Order of Australia Foundation Scholarship.
“Hannah has not only achieved excellent academic results, but she has made a deep and lasting impact in her own community, which is something La Trobe values highly,” Professor Dewar said.
“Hannah has a bright future ahead of her, and her stellar development as a student speaks to the importance of education and community.
“La Trobe will continue to support Hannah through her studies and ensure she remains challenged and inspired to achieve and make a difference.”