Westpac Scholars Trust backs 100 inspiring changemakers

Three 2023 Westpac Scholars

After completing a national search to uncover Australia’s brightest changemakers and innovators, Westpac Scholars Trust has awarded 100 scholarships to an exceptional group of university students, researchers and social entrepreneurs.


Each year, Westpac Scholars Trust awards 100 scholarships across five program streams to individuals with the passion and drive to create positive change in Australia. Delivered with 14 university partners, these scholarships provide financial support, vital leadership development and networking opportunities, enabling recipients to accelerate their growth and scale their impact.

Made up of 71 undergraduate students, 17 postgraduate students, 10 social entrepreneurs and two early-career researchers, these outstanding individuals were awarded over $4 million collectively.

From a refugee migrant launching a social enterprise to help others gain meaningful employment in construction to a PhD student investigating the potential for ancient microbial life on Mars, our 2023 Westpac Scholars are undertaking varied and meaningful pursuits.

The cohort also includes an environmental economist investigating the cost of air pollution in Australia, an entrepreneur leading a social enterprise helping people experiencing homelessness to access clean clothes and a postgraduate coursework student who has launched a non-for-profit that has provided 23,000 kids access to free education materials.

While each recipient is unique, Westpac Scholars are united by a generosity of spirit and an interest in sustainability, technology and innovation, social change and ties with Asia. Selected by the Trust, these four focus areas are what it believes are at the heart of Australia’s future growth and prosperity.

Reflecting on the selection of the 2023 cohort, Westpac Scholars Trust CEO Amy Lyden said: “I couldn’t be more impressed with the calibre of scholars we’ve awarded this year.”

“Many individuals are already delivering huge impact in our community through their studies, research and work in the social enterprise sector. I can’t wait to see this group continue to flourish,” she said.

The Westpac Scholars program prides itself on awarding individuals from a range of demographic backgrounds and geographic locations. This year, that includes students from remote areas like Cairns, Wollongong, Port Macquarie and Gisborne. 15 per cent of recipients are also first in family to complete a university degree, 51 per cent identify as women and three per cent identify as First Nations people.

Westpac Scholars Trust awarded its first scholarship in 2015, following a $100 million dollar gift from the bank in celebration of its 200th anniversary. The Trust awards 100 scholarships a year, forever as part of the bank’s promise to create a brighter future for Australia.

Celebrating our 2023 Westpac Scholars

Westpac Research Fellows

  • Dr Kai Xun Chan (The Australian National University)
  • Dr Andrea La Nauze (The University of Queensland) 

Westpac Social Change Fellows

  • Audrey Deemal (Cape York Partnerships)
  • Tenille Gilbert (For Change Co)
  • Eloise Hall (TABOO Period Products)
  • Kirra Johnson (Good Cycles)
  • Mandy Lau (Reach & Match)
  • Nicholas Marchesi OAM (Orange Sky)
  • Gabrielle Mordy (Studio A)
  • Hedayat Osyan (CommUnity Construction)
  • Michael Tozer (Xceptional)
  • Corey Tutt OAM (DeadlyScience)

Westpac Future Leaders

  • Megan Amos (UNSW)
  • Rebekah Ash (University of Tasmania)
  • Dr Roshini Balasooriya (Monash University)
  • Christian Bien (University of Melbourne)
  • Zubin Bilimoria (University of Sydney)
  • Queenie Cheung (Monash University)
  • Charlie Cooper (Monash University)
  • Elliott Fourie (University of Western Australia)
  • Jessica Freund (University of Adelaide)
  • Alexander Frisina (University of Sydney)
  • Evelyn Lambeth (University of Tasmania)
  • Tori Millsteed (The University of Queensland)
  • Stuart Nicholls (University of Sydney)
  • Nick Pritchard (University of Western Australia)
  • Harry Spurrier (University of Adelaide)
  • Indigo Strudwicke (Australian National University)
  • Tayla Wilsdon (University of Melbourne)

Westpac Young Technologists

  • Aliyah Baleem (Murdoch University)
  • Matthew Bond (University of Wollongong)
  • Tahlee Cale (Murdoch University)
  • Elisa Chiremba (Murdoch University)
  • Julienne Deecke (Murdoch University)
  • Rhyda Demaagd (University of Wollongong)
  • Kelsie Dowley (Murdoch University)
  • Samantha Exposito (University of Wollongong)
  • Harrison Gatt (RMIT)
  • Bess Gosling (QUT)
  • Imogen Gilbert (QUT)
  • Mela Hoffman (University of Wollongong)
  • Joshua Ho (QUT)
  • Mela Hoffman (University of Wollongong)
  • Tristan Le (RMIT)
  • Lachlan Luu (Western Sydney University)
  • Mahd Khan (Western Sydney University)
  • Julia Magris (RMIT)
  • Jocelyn Mayger (QUT)
  • Freddy McLoughlan (RMIT)
  • Charlie McMahon (QUT)
  • Nicholas Messiha (Western Sydney University)
  • Charlotte Mills (University of Wollongong)
  • Vivian Nyugen (Western Sydney University)
  • Hayden Owen (QUT)
  • Allan Phung (RMIT)
  • Patrick Richardson (QUT)
  • Tom Rodenhuis (Western Sydney University)
  • Lauren Sheppard (University of Wollongong)
  • Arshdeep Singh Cheema (Western Sydney University)
  • Joel Thomas (Murdoch University)
  • Thomas Tran (RMIT)
  • Leonel Vallejos (Western Sydney University)
  • Connor Weir (University of Wollongong)
  • Kai Whittaker (Murdoch University)
  • Celeste Yun Hang (RMIT)

Westpac Asian Exchange Scholars

  • Leo Barry (University of Sydney)
  • Max Buchholz (RMIT)
  • Renee Byrne (The University of Melbourne)
  • Chelsea Chaffey (UNSW)
  • Song Chen (The University of Melbourne)
  • Joe Christie (The University of Melbourne)
  • William Davie (RMIT)
  • William Day (University of Adelaide)
  • Lachlan Drury (QUT)
  • Jan Michael Gonzales (Monash University)
  • Piero Jaksa (University of Adelaide)
  • Emily Liao (University of Sydney)
  • Conan Liu (UNSW)
  • Emma Linfoot (UNSW)
  • Milie Maccallum (Australian National University)
  • Finn Maguire (Australian National University)
  • Skye Manley (University of Tasmania)
  • Sweeney Marshall (The University of Melbourne)
  • Dhiiren Moganaraju (Australian National University)
  • Mina Naeem (University of Western Australia)
  • Emily Nelson (Western Sydney University)
  • Naveen Nimalan (University of Western Australia)
  • Seung-hyun Pan (University of Sydney)
  • Clare Peterson (University of Adelaide)
  • Wuyuo Qu (The University of Melbourne)
  • Abigail Russell (University of Sydney)
  • Thea San Jose (The University of Melbourne)
  • Rohan Sims (University of Wollongong)
  • Claudia Tedjasaputra (The University of Melbourne)
  • Helen Tong (Australian National University)
  • Holly Trikilis (University of Sydney)
  • Jhermayne Ubalde (University of Western Australia)
  • Sara Watson (The University of Queensland)
  • Emma Whitney (RMIT)
  • Flynn Wedd (University of Adelaide) 

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