For Dr Natasha Weir, a La Trobe University access scholarship marked the beginning of a 20-year connection with the University.
After arriving at La Trobe as an undergraduate student, Natasha continued her studies as a PhD candidate while teaching history and gender studies at the Bundoora Campus. She remains at La Trobe today, working as a gender equity researcher and project officer.
“I feel a strong sense of loyalty to La Trobe,” Natasha said.
“Without that scholarship I might never have gone to university at all,” she said.
Growing up in rural north-eastern Victoria, the financial costs of attending university felt overwhelming for Natasha.
“It was my sister who pointed out that there were scholarships available for rural students from low socio-economic backgrounds,” she said.
“The scholarship made all the difference, not only financially, but also in my confidence because it made me feel like La Trobe wanted me here."
Each year, La Trobe alumni choose to support scholarships for students like Natasha, empowering them to fulfill their dreams of a university education. La Trobe access scholarships are available to a range of people including Indigenous students, young people from rural communities, people with refugee backgrounds and students from families experiencing financial disadvantage.
Natasha said La Trobe’s diversity made it a special place to study and work.
“I can’t stress how life-changing it was for me to come to La Trobe. I experienced a lot of racism growing up in a small town - I’m half-Italian and half-Hungarian.
"So to come to La Trobe where there was people from so many different backgrounds – that was life-changing for me. I’ve worked at other universities briefly but the diversity and sense of community at La Trobe is why I’ve wanted to stay.”
Natasha said she has seen students transformed by the opportunities education can provide.
“In my time teaching and lecturing I met so many students who came from backgrounds like mine, and I think we should be proud of how La Trobe supports these students,” she said.
“There’s so many high-potential students but many of them have never had opportunities because of their family background or where they’re situated.
“We have to reward potential, not just success, because these students will work just as hard when they’re given opportunities like studying at La Trobe.”
Last updated: 9th May 2019