01.04.2020

36 aspiring tech innovators receive undergraduate scholarships

Tomorrow’s ethical hackers, cyber security experts and social-minded developers are amongst 36 young Australians to be awarded technology scholarships today by Westpac Scholars Trust.

Offered in partnership with five universities across Australia, the Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship is designed to support undergraduates who are passionate about technology and exploring ways it can be used for good.

Amongst the 2020 recipients is Queensland University of Technology student, Jessica Childs. Jessica aspires to develop video games and interactive experiences to help improve people’s mental health.

“My plan is to pursue research in the field of haptic and virtual reality technologies, and explore the possibility of these technologies being used in both physical and mental health therapy,” says Jessica.

Haptics is a form of technology that engages people's sense of touch to enhance their experience of interacting with onscreen interfaces.

“I also plan to create games that challenge the user's perception and thinking, making them more aware of other people’s perspectives.”

Fellow 2020 recipient Hanh Huynh is undertaking a Bachelor of Software Engineering at RMIT and hopes to pursue a career in technology and apply machine learning principles to global issues.

“I’m incredibly passionate about discovering new technologies. As we progress into the next decade, we face many global challenges around sustainability and security and I believe technology innovation will be key to finding new ways of doing things. By pursuing a career in technology, particularly in machine learning, I hope to solve some of these problems and improve the lives of others,” says Hanh.

Western Sydney University student, Michael McInerney will use his scholarship to study a Bachelor of Cyber Security and Behaviour.

“My passion for technology and ethical hacking began as a child. I was always playing computer games and generally curious about how technology worked. When my computer broke down, I would watch YouTube tutorials to teach myself how to fix it,” says Michael.

“I also had an incredible role model that worked in ethical hacking. I was always so excited to hear his stories about the system vulnerabilities they were able to expose and thereby help organisations identify what they needed to do to strengthen their cyber security. That’s definitely what sparked my interest and has led to my goal of attaining as many cyber security certifications as I can before I finish university.”

The Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship is valued at $15,000 over three years. Beyond the financial support, the scholarship includes a Disruptive Leaders Program – a one-week residential program in Singapore in 2021. Recipients will also have access to industry and university mentors, internships, ongoing leadership development opportunities and exposure to new and diverse networks.

According to Westpac Scholars Trust CEO Susan Bannigan: “The Young Technologists Scholarship goes well beyond the financial support. We are now in our fifth year and the most valued aspect of the scholarship for past recipients has been the access to new and diverse networks through the Westpac 100 Scholars Network and the broader networks of Westpac Group,” says Susan.  

As well as the financial investment of the scholarship, Westpac Young Technologists Scholars gain lifelong access to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network. Growing by 100 scholars a year across the Westpac Scholars Trust’s five scholarship programs, the network connects a community of people from all walks of life with the ideas and drive to help shape a better future for all Australians.

To learn more about the Trust’s 2020 Westpac Scholars visit the Westpac Scholars Directory.