Introducing our 2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars

A hydrogeologist aspiring to address Australia’s water scarcity, a lawyer working at the intersection of business and human rights, and a quantitative economist aiming to push the needle on climate policy reform in Australia are among 17 outstanding young Australians from nine universities to receive a 2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, valued at over $2 million collectively.

The postgraduate scholarships, each valued up to $120,000, will enable these PhD and Masters’ students to pursue their research, as well as connect them to a network of like-minded individuals who are driven to find innovative solutions to problems facing our local and global communities. 

2022 recipient Georgia Summerfield who will undertake a Master of Environment and Sustainability at Monash University says, “As water fast becomes the world's single most important currency, Australia requires sustainable and drought-proof solutions to overcome our water scarcity crisis. My work in Asia's seawater desalination sector will prepare me to help drive sustainable seawater desalination in Australia, targeting the nexus of our greatest environmental, economic and social challenges.”

Biochemist Sacha Pulsford from the Australian National University plans to use molecular biology and protein design to reimagine how we consume and create resources.

“As climate change accelerates, shifting the economy from fossil fuel-based manufacturing to more sustainable bioproduction will be critical. This is an exciting new area predicted to impact almost every sector of the economy as biological innovations transform value chains and business models. Through my postgraduate study, I aim to create the technology we will need to build this new industry in Australia.”

Acting CEO of Westpac Scholars Trust, Amy Lyden says investing in these ambitious individuals is important to building Australia’s future prosperity.

“As the nation seeks to build a sustainable and inclusive future, Australia is looking to a new generation of leaders. As well as the financial support, a key part of the Westpac Scholars program is for each scholarship recipient to undertake a transformative leadership development program to equip them with the skills, networks and opportunities they need to reach their potential.

“We’ve worked closely with our university partners and Westpac to deliver transformational programs that not only challenge the Scholars’ thinking, but also increases their access to new networks and opportunities,” says Lyden.

Scholarship recipients also become lifelong members of the program’s alumni, the Westpac 100 Scholars Network (W100).

Growing by up to 100 Westpac Scholars every year, the W100 is a supportive scholar-led community that values diversity and creates opportunities for collaboration, professional development, networking and contributing to positive change in Australia.

“The W100 (alumni) is an invaluable part of the scholarship program, with many examples of scholars connecting, sharing ideas and collaborating to make a difference,” continues Lyden. “Set to grow to over 650 scholars in 2022, the potential of the network to create positive change is enormous.”

Each year, in partnership with 14 universities across Australia, the Trust awards up to 100 scholarships a year to outstanding university students, researchers and social innovators in Australia. Since 2016, the Trust has invested $31 million in more than 560 Westpac Scholars.

2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars

Alexandra Wulff (Monash University)

Anna Kalamkarian (The University of Adelaide)

Ben Scott (The University of Queensland)

Caitlyn Georgeson (The University of Melbourne)

Catelyn Richards (The University of Tasmania)

Elizabeth Wong (UNSW)

Georgia Summerfield (Monash University)

Harry Robertson (The University of Sydney)

Jamie Priest (The University of Adelaide)

Jayne Fendyk (The Australian National University)

Lachlan Holden (The University of Adelaide)

Matt Wilkinson-Stokes (The University of Melbourne)

Nicholas Parkinson (The University of Melbourne)

Nyakuoy Yak (The University of Queensland)

Sacha Pulsford (The Australian National University)

Thomas Da Jose (The University of Sydney)

Tiana Caccetta (The University of Western Australia)

To learn more about our 2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars, visit the Scholars page of our website, where you’ll find bios on each of the 17 recipients.