The Academic Excellence Scholarships Recognising Outstanding Performance in Undergraduate Studies were established to reward hard work, persistence and dedication to academic excellence. In this ‘Meet the Scholar’ series we will introduce you to those undergraduate students who are the 2020 recipients of this generous scholarship. Are you ready to be inspired?

What program are you studying?
Bachelor of Science
What year of study are you in?

2nd/3rd year

Image of Samantha Whitling

What did you feel when you heard you were the recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarships Recognising Outstanding Performance in Undergraduate Studies?

I was totally taken by surprise, then I read more into it and was just really excited! I feel very blessed to be given opportunities like this!

What do you think are the personal qualities that have contributed to your academic achievements?
Resilience, perseverance and time management are all key. Also being genuinely passionate about what I study has made my degree very rewarding!
How do you motivate yourself towards your studies?
I live by the premise that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing to the best of my ability. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I like to set myself some pretty challenging goals to ensure I stay motivated and engaged with my studies.
Who are your role models?
My parents are the hardest working and most generous people I know. Neither of them graduated Year 12 but they both worked hard and ended up studying later in life. They taught me the value of education as well as to treat others with kindness, and they have always encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities that came my way.
 
I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by amazing women in STEM who inspire me daily. Namely, Dr Bonnie McBain who has taught me for a few semesters in a row now. She exemplifies what it means to be a fantastic scientist, teacher, and mentor, whilst encouraging us to be good students, but also good people.
What are your goals for the future?
I hope to do Honours and potentially a PhD, as I currently really enjoy what I’m studying. I’m interested in the role science plays in policymaking and would one day like to work in that field. I would also love to live/work overseas at some point.
What are three things you enjoy most about studying at the University of Newcastle?
UON encourages both personal and professional growth. They emphasise the importance of balancing work, study and social lives – and, most importantly, we love the free sausage sizzles!
What tips do you have for other students when it comes to excelling in their studies?

Making friends in your degree will be one of the best things you do! Also, treat group assignments, tutorials and any interactions with staff/peers as opportunities! They are opportunities to learn, grow, network, find jobs, meet like-minded people, and build connections.

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