The Network Effect

2017 Research Fellow, Amy King

When Associate Professor Amy King needed to recruit research assistants with the specialised skills required in her field, she knew exactly where to look: the W100. 


“Finding people with the language skills and deep political and historical knowledge of the Asia Pacific Region is challenging,” says King, a Westpac Research Fellow and Associate Professor at Australian National University’s Strategic & Defence Studies Centre and Deputy Director at Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs. 


“But because a focus area of Westpac Scholars is on building Australia-Asia ties and funding scholars to spend time in the region, I was confident that within the network I’d find someone who’d be able to immediately get stuck in, while also supporting their own careers.” 


King’s research, which has also attracted an ARC DECRA Fellowship and a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, explores China’s role in shaping the international economic order, with a view to strengthening Australia’s understanding of economic and security forces in the Asian region. 


Among a number of talented Westpac Scholars who put themselves forward to join King’s team, two in particular – Westpac Asian Exchange Scholars Meira Chen and Alicia Turner – stood out, taking up the part-time roles in mid-2022. 


For Chen, who’d studied with Beijing’s Tsinghua University in 2018 as part of her exchange during her Law and International Studies degree with UNSW, the role was a chance to “deep dive” into Asian affairs, expand her network and put her skills into practice. “It was a great opportunity to both help out Amy, and also get great insights into the ways a very senior academic formulates her arguments,” says Chen, who also spent two years in Japan earning a Master of International Relations at Waseda University in Tokyo. 


Meanwhile, Turner took up the role alongside her Westpac Asian Exchange last year with Hosei University in Tokyo as part of her International Relations and Politics degree at University of Adelaide, giving her an ability to provide on-the-ground insights as part of King’s team. 


As well as being “lively contributors”, King has enjoyed watching Chen and Turner’s professional growth, including the confidence they’ve gained in applying for their next professional steps. 


Earlier this year, Chen transitioned to a role with the NSW Government where she’s leveraging her background in law and Asian languages to lead policy reforms and projects that accelerate the adoption of hydrogen, including attracting investment from trade partners in Asian markets. For Turner, who has valued King’s “mentorship and words of wisdom”, it’s helped solidify her plans to pursue further research and work opportunities in Japan. 


“There’s no way I would have come across Meira and Alicia without the W100 Network,” King says. “It brings together people with similar interests really effectively and the more we, as Westpac Scholars, all put into it, the stronger it keeps getting which ultimately benefits Australia.”


Learn more about the impact of the Westpac Scholars Trust in our 2023 Impact Report.


Published 6 March 2024

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