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Giving back to community - George Alexander Foundation Scholarship recipients

Five University of Tasmania students have received a generous financial boost to pursue their dream degrees, thanks to a relocation scholarship program.

The George Alexander Foundation Relocation and Living Support Scholarships, made possible through the support of independent Australian philanthropic group The George Alexander Foundation, were presented to the students recently by the foundation’s Program Coordinator, Mairead Phillips.

The 2018 recipients are Natalie Gaffney (Bachelor of Education in Science and Mathematics) of Central Castra, Marlee Wells (Bachelor of Psychological Science) of White Beach, Megan Smithurst (Bachelor of Justice Studies) of St Helens, Bailey Bishop (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) of Hobart, and Karina Steadman (Bachelor of Laboratory Medicine), of Launceston.

Valued at $24,000 each, the scholarships provide much-needed financial support and enable the recipients to continue the community work and extra-curricular endeavours they are passion about.

Ms Phillips said the Foundation, established in 1972 by George Alexander AM (1910-2008), supports talented young people from rural and remote areas to overcome barriers to further education and fulfil their leadership potential.

“George was the beneficiary himself of a scholarship, so he understood firsthand the life-changing effects a scholarship can have,” Ms Phillips said.

“Our scholarships recognise the academic achievement, community spirit, and leadership skills of our recipients. George had a great amount of pride in the scholarship programs bearing his name and often said that the students the Foundation helped to support would become his greatest legacy.”

For recipient, Natalie Gaffney, the scholarship has enabled her relocation from Central Castra on the North-West Coast, to the University of Tasmania’s Newnham campus.

The 18-year-old Bachelor of Education in Mathematics and Science student is pursuing her career goals with the plan to one day return to her coastal community.

The scholarship means Natalie can focus on her studies and continue giving back to the community through her role as a Girl Guides leader.

“It’s a real honour to receive a scholarship from someone who has done so much in their life and helped others like George Alexander did,” Natalie said.

“It makes me think that I can do the same.

“To have people who don’t know you support you financially is a real blessing.”

The University of Tasmania’s Advancement Office Acting Executive Director Sara Sharif said since 2013, 30 University of Tasmania students have benefitted from the George Alexander Foundation’s scholarships.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the George Alexander Foundation, which has helped provide the pathway for Tasmanian recipients to pursue their dreams in higher education,” Ms Sharif said.

For more information on the George Alexander Foundation Relocation and Living Support Scholarship visit:

Photo: University of Tasmania student Natalie Gaffney (third from left) pictured with The George Alexander Foundation’s (from left) Communications Officer Eleanor Connelly and Program Coordinator Mairead Phillips, and the University’s Advancement Office Acting Executive Director Sara Sharif.

Published on: 02 Aug 2018 4:27pm