A political change maker and a leading innovator from The University of Western Australia have been awarded prestigious scholarships, recognising their potential as young global ambassadors.
Computer science and psychology student Mark Shelton was last night awarded a General Sir John Monash Foundation Scholarship at the Sydney Opera House. The postgraduate scholarships are awarded to outstanding Australians with leadership potential who wish to study overseas.
Mr Shelton, 22, received a two year scholarship to study a Masters of Computer Science at Stanford University where he will use artificial intelligence to make predictions on the likelihood of start-up businesses receiving financial investment, the focus of his Honours thesis.
Mr Shelton is the co-founder of Bloom, a non-profit organisation that provides a dedicated space for young, innovative West Australians to create, collaborate and network. He started Bloom in 2013 to encourage students to start their own ventures.
He said the chance to study at Stanford University, the home of technology and entrepreneurship, was a great opportunity.
“Having spent the last four years trying to support technology entrepreneurs here, I think I will be able to learn a lot from what I do at Stanford and bring it back to Australia,” he said.
“Through my studies, I’m hoping to gain a deeper technical basis that I can apply to other pursuits, become a better tech entrepreneur and later a better community supporter for the industry.”
Mr Shelton hopes to change attitudes towards studying computer science and said Perth had the potential to become a technological hub like Silicon Valley.
“Perth has incredible universities, access to potential investors – everything we need to become an innovation ecosystem,” he said.
Fellow St Catherine’s College resident Tania Loke was announced as the 2017 Rhodes Scholar for Malaysia. This is Malaysia’s first Rhodes Scholarship in 12 years.
Ms Loke, 23, completed a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours), majoring in Political Science and International Relations at UWA with First Class Honours in Physics. She plans to take her passion for social issues and public policy to Oxford University where she will complete a Master of Public Policy (MPP) and an MSc in Comparative Social Policy.
The scholarship will enable her to work towards more equitable political, economic and social standards for all Malaysians.
“The Rhodes to me is a lifelong investment. The two years of studying and networking with some of the world’s best professors and students, alongside training in ethical leadership, will equip me to better serve my country,” Ms Loke said.
“After two years of study, I hope to work alongside fellow nation-building Malaysians, whether as a researcher for an independent think tank or as policy advisor to the Government or the Opposition, made-in-Oxford toolkit in hand.”
She joins a distinguished group of Rhodes Scholars from UWA, including former prime minister Bob Hawke, former WA premier Geoff Gallop, the late David Malcolm, former WA chief justice and Australian business leader Sir Rod Eddington.
UWA Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said she was delighted two UWA graduates had received such prestigious scholarships.
“The leadership and skills these students display are outstanding and, as Rhodes and Monash scholars, I have every confidence that Tania and Mark will use their skills and knowledge to make significant contributions in their field,” Professor Freshwater said.