What do you get when you combine hard work, academic excellence and a commitment to making a difference in your community? For these two high achieving international students, it’s a prestigious scholarship that will cover 100 per cent of their tuition fees for the duration of their degrees.
From over 300 applications from eligible candidates, Preetha Raj Rajendran and Mandira Hippola were selected to receive the 2021 La Trobe University’s Vice-Chancellor Scholarship – India and Sri Lanka.
The scholarships were awarded at an online ceremony by Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO, and attended by Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Stacey Farraway, and Regional Director – South Asia and Africa Amit Malhotra.
As they prepare to commence their degrees from afar, we spoke to Preetha and Mandira about what they want to achieve at La Trobe and beyond.
Preetha working towards a brighter future for those with genetic disorders
Ever since high school, Preetha has had a fascination with understanding genetic disorders.
On completion of her Bachelor of Biotechnology, she was offered the role of Machine Learning Data Associate at Amazon. This experience led her to pursue her Master of Biotechnology Management with La Trobe. Needless to say, Preetha is thrilled to be selected for the scholarship.
‘This scholarship has opened a door to the prospect of a brighter future and will play a key role in shaping me into becoming a successful person. Thanks to the university, I am one step closer to reaching my goals.’
Preetha says it was high-tech facilities such as the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences with experienced research scientists and representatives from onsite biotech companies that attracted her to La Trobe.
‘This is the only postgraduate course in Victoria with a business focus. I am so excited and looking forward to embark on my journey at La Trobe.’
After she graduates, Preetha aspires to be a researcher and help those affected by neuro-genetic disorders.
‘I will work towards developing drugs that treat infections like HIV/AIDS and respiratory diseases, and therapies that treat genetic and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
‘People with Alzheimer’s are frequently denied the basic rights and freedoms available to others. I wish to treat those neuro-genetic disorders in the gene level itself to give back to those affected, a heaven-filled life to spend happily with their family. ‘
In the future, Preetha ultimately wants to create her own research centre back in India and work towards the development of society.
Mandira combines business acumen with social responsibility
Throughout high school, Mandira was a high achiever – not only as a student, but also as an athlete, swimmer, dancer, actor and School Head Prefect. So why did she choose to study her Bachelor of Business (Accounting) at La Trobe?
‘The fact that La Trobe values students who not only excel academically but in extracurricular activities made me believe this was the perfect university to bring out my best.’
Like Preetha, Mandira says her scholarship will create many opportunities.
‘I will be able to focus on my studies without a financial burden. This will surely help me reach great achievements at La Trobe and later in life.’
While she can’t wait to join us on campus, Mandira says she’s excited to start her degree online in Semester 2.
‘It will allow me to study in a comfortable, homely environment and focus on maintaining high academic standards.’
Once she has commenced her degree, Mandira is keen to gain practical experience to achieve her dream of working at one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms.
‘I love how La Trobe lets students apply the knowledge they acquire in the classroom to the professional work environment. This means I will gain the required skills to become a strongly qualified candidate in a competitive job market.’
Besides her professional career, Mandira other goal is to conduct research that aims to improve the wellbeing of her future colleagues.
‘I want to better understand accounting and finance concepts in the hope of developing systems that will reduce office workload and create a better environment for workers’ mental and physical health.’
She is also keen to influence the future generation of business professionals.
‘I am passionate about everything I do, so I hope I will become a noteworthy graduate of La Trobe and encourage the younger generation to choose their career solely because they enjoy following that path.’
Would you like to be rewarded for your excellence?
If you’re a Indian or Sri Lankan citizen, you may be eligible to apply for the Vice-Chancellor Scholarship. You could also be eligible for other region-specific international scholarships that provide tuition fee reductions of up to 30 per cent for selected courses. These scholarships are available to all citizens of the eligible countries – regardless of where you currently live
Find out if you’re eligible for one of the generous scholarships offered at La Trobe. Start your La Trobe degree online in Semester 2 and join us on campus once borders reopen.