Ag science students win scholarship

Two La Trobe students were honoured among the best and brightest of Victoria's agricultural students, who were presented with this year's Rural Finance Scholarships at a Gala event at Creswick last night.

Kieran Delahunty and Grace Calder along with seven other students were presented their awards in front of more than 200 people including industry and government leaders, which will see them receive $6,000 for each year of their degree (capped at three years).

Treasurer Kim Wells presented the awards, which recognises these students and their commitment to their future in the diverse agricultural sector.

Celebrating 20 years since the beginning of the scholarship program, last night saw the awarding of new awards for those studying a diploma, and for a first-year postgraduate student.

'The scheme supports and promotes those elements that are critical to the future success of the Victorian economy - young people, education, knowledge, development - and they are tomorrow's leaders,' Mr Wells said.

'The scholarship program fosters excellence in agriculture, and encourages the best minds to pursue further education and development.'

Acting Head of School of Life Sciences, Professor Terry Spithill said these awards were highly competitive with 97 entries and that both Kieran and Grace were highly appreciative, articulate and enthusiastic on the night of the awards.

'They were very excited to receive this sort of recognition.' Professor Spithill says there is an urgent need for agricultural students and graduates in Australia meet the short fall in industry demands. He says that awards like these help encourage people to see the many benefits and vast opportunities open to agricultural students.

Recipients under the Vocational Education Program receive $2000 for their Diploma studies, with undergraduate winners awarded $6,000 annually for the duration of their tertiary studies.

The establishment of the Ian Morton Memorial Scholarship, in memory of the key figure in Rural Finance's development, provides $12,000 to a doctorate student.

Kieran Delahunty
Hailing from Murtoa, Kieran's family operate a 12000acre cropping property; from which he has developed a passion for agronomic research. Currently in his first year of study at  La Trobe University where he is undertaking a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Bachelor of Business, Kieran hopes his career will enable him to provide information, new ideas and technological advancements that will improve sustainability and productivity in agriculture.

Grace Calder
Currently undertaking a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Bachelor of Business at La Trobe University, Grace spends any spare time she has with her Corriedale Stud that she professionally competes at shows. Grace is also involved in judging. Her career aspiration is to work in farm financial planning and management assisting farmers to minimise the effects of natural disasters and seasonal conditions.