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Autumn 2015 Issue
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Scholarships support students and the community

Emma Gardiner

Emma Gardiner
The University of Adelaide committed to doubling the number of scholarships for disadvantaged students by 2015 under the strategic plan, Beacon of Enlightenment.  

The Principal Scholarship is part of the University’s suiteof support measures to ensure high achieving young people have access to higher education regardless of their background.

Emma Gardiner is studying at the University of Adelaide to be a teacher – which makes it even more fitting that she has a Principals Scholarship to help her with living costs and education expenses.

And what is extra special is that she is working to become a maths and physics teacher.

“I am doing a Bachelor of Teaching and a Bachelor of Maths and Computer Sciences. I really enjoyed maths in Year 12 and want to teach it myself,” she says.

This is mathematical music to Australian education policy planners. As Chief Scientist Ian Chubb AC and all sorts of academic experts have long warned, we face a compounding crisis in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education.

According to the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, across the country 40 per cent of mathematics classes in years seven to ten do not have a maths-trained teacher. This is a big part of the reason why advanced maths enrolments in Year 12 are down by 22 per cent since the turn of the century, which flows through to universities, especially for females. The number of young Australian women with a maths degree is below the OECD, which means there are fewer maths and science trained graduates, and female role models, available to teach in schools.

To break this cycle we need Emma, and all the young women who she will help to follow her path for decades to come. As Emma says, one of the reasons she is enrolling at the University of Adelaide is because: “my teachers strongly encouraged me.”

That she can study at the University is also an excellent example of how targeted scholarships help both students and society. Emma, who went to school at Torrens Valley Christian School, has a Principals Scholarship which she won because of her outstanding academic achievement and community service. Her scholarship provides $5000 to help with living and study expenses in the first year of her double degree program.

But it wasn’t the only reason Emma chose the University, “it’s really sophisticated,” she says.

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