First 500: Toby is making STEM more accessible to millions of students

This month Westpac Scholars Trust celebrates its first 500 Westpac Scholars, looking at the journeys and achievements of these individuals and how their Westpac Scholarships have helped them along the way. We caught up with a few, including Youtube sensation Toby Hendy, 2017 Future Leader Scholar. Toby made the decision to pursue her career in STEM education through social media, rather than finishing her PhD, and now has close to 700,000 regular subscribers on her YouTube channel.

1. Tell us about your journey since receiving your Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship in 2017, what are you most proud of?

When I applied for the scholarship, I dabbled in video making as a hobby alongside my studies. Now, I have turned my YouTube channel into my full-time job and love making videos about science and mathematics for almost 700,000 subscribers. I get to research interesting topics such as the history of science, look at exam papers from around the world, and try to present complex ideas in a fun and relaxing way. I find it rewarding to share scientific information with a large audience and provide inspiration for further learning. This year I've also been producing an animated short film about mathematics with support from Screen Australia, and I can't wait to share it with my audience. 

2. What impact has the Scholarship, or being part of the W100, had on your success?

My career path changed track when I decided to leave academia and pursue science communication, so even though I left my original study program, I still credit the Westpac Scholarship with giving me the confidence and skills to take that risk. Through the W100, I have connected with some of the most welcoming, intelligent and motivated people I know, and I am very grateful to be a part of it.

3. What advice would you give other young Australians who might be considering applying for a scholarship?

Do you have a vision for your future and that of Australia? If so, do your best to communicate it clearly. The process of applying for a scholarship is an opportunity to reflect upon your own goals and direction in life and will be beneficial regardless of the outcome. 

To learn more about our first 500 Westpac Scholars follow @WestpacScholars on Instagram as we showcase W100 alumni throughout August.

Applications for 2022 scholarships are now open. To find out more visit the Westpac Scholars Trust website.