Four students were recently rewarded for their extraordinary academic performances and significant contributions to their communities at the 2017 Tertiary Scholarship Fund (TSF) awards night.
RMIT University student Ji Song and Monash University student Cassandra Lee both earned the awards’ highest distinction, marking the first time in TSF history that co-winners were awarded the top prize. Both students were awarded a $3000 cash scholarship each.
In second place, the TSF awarded University of Melbourne student Kimberly Pellosis with a cash scholarship of $2000. And in third place, Victoria University student Sistha Kamadjaja was awarded $1000.
Song, who is studying Applied Science in Psychology, said the award was validation for his hard work.
“It means recognition which is very important [for me]. I’ve worked very hard on community, so it’s great that I can get recognition for that,” said Song. “It also encourages other students to get more involved [with] community services, and if that happens that will be very amazing.”
Asked what he planned to use with his first place prize, Song said he wanted to put it back into his community work.
“I do want to spend most of it in creative development, such as [developing] psychological workshops,” he further commented.
First place co-winner Lee also said the award was motivation for her to continue achieving and succeeding.
“It inspires me so much for encouraging to continue my journey of chasing my dream, and next time we can give it back to the society for what we have done,” she said.
As a medicine student, Lee said her next goal is to become a good doctor.
“I’m going to put [the money] for my study, and also use it for my volunteering as well, and I will work hard to be a good doctor so that I can continue to help others,” she said.
Founded in 2005, the TSF was developed to acknowledge the achievements of tertiary-level international and local students studying in Victoria and to reward students making an active contribution towards their community. The awards were created by TSF founder Yin Choi Lam and students are judged by a committee.
Mr Lam, who also owns the Mekong Pho restaurant in Melbourne, said he was pleased to see that the TSF has continued to support university students.
“In 2005, I found that many of my customers are students in Tertiary education,” said Mr Lam. “I wanted to pay back for their support.”
He encouraged the winners to stay motivated and continue to contribute to society. “We hope they can also offer their support to those who are in need in the future,” Mr Lam said.
Professor Kwong Lee-Dow, head of the TSF judging committee, said he and his fellow judges were impressed by the high quality and variety of applicants this year.
“It’s very exciting to see so many students from different fields and levels of study,” Prof Kwong said. “[And] what we’ve seen in the past is the students who get into the finals are doing very well, and a number of them go on and get further awards and recognition [as] they grow their confidence from these awards.”
Also in attendance during the awards night were City of Melbourne Councillor Phillip Le Liu and Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China Consul Yujiang Zhou. Councillor Liu praised TSF for recognising students’ contributions to the development of Melbourne. Consul Zhou also acknowledged TSF for encouraging leaders in community and business to support the growth of young people in Melbourne.