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First scholarship winner hopes to follow in Julia Gillard’s footsteps

Media release

One of Western Australia’s brightest high school graduates is the inaugural recipient of the Julia Gillard Women in Leadership Scholarship to study at Curtin University.

Perth Modern School graduate Orla Latawski, aged 18, was awarded the scholarship, part of the John Curtin Undergraduate Scholarship Program, at a special ceremony held on the University’s Bentley Campus last night.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated Orla on being awarded the scholarship, named in honour of Former Prime Minister, the Honourable Julia Gillard AC.

“The Julia Gillard Women in Leadership Scholarship supports academically gifted female students to develop themselves as a leader in their chosen field and I can think of no more deserving inaugural recipient of this prestigious scholarship than Orla,” Professor Terry said.

“Orla has displayed an outstanding academic record, busy extra-curricular calendar and a commitment to serving her community through many hours of volunteering.”

Orla said she was looking forward to her studies at Curtin University, where she will start a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Science (Psychology) double degree this year.

“It is a great honour to have received the Julia Gillard Women in Leadership Scholarship after growing up watching the Former Prime Minister and being inspired to hopefully one day follow in her footsteps,” Orla said.

“To be recognised for my commitment to leadership and community is deeply humbling, but to be able to carry on her legacy and hopefully inspire future recipients of the scholarship is the most exciting aspect of this opportunity.”

Orla said she had been lucky to meet Ms Gillard at the two most recent John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library Anniversary Lectures.

“Through both those experiences, I was deeply inspired and encouraged in the area of leadership and having the opportunity to meet the Former Prime Minister left a very lasting impact on me and my passion for politics,” Orla said.

Ms Gillard said she had been impressed with Orla’s passion, commitment and drive during their brief meetings at the lectures.

“I am delighted to see a student of Orla’s calibre gaining the benefits of this scholarship and will be following her development as one of our brightest young leaders with great interest,” Ms Gillard said.

Orla was named among Western Australia’s top Year 12 students last year after being awarded a Certificate of Merit by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

As well as completing more than 265 hours of community service during school, Orla maintained a strong academic standing through high school and embraced numerous extra-curricular activities including debating, the YMCA WA Youth Parliament Program and other leadership competitions.

The Julia Gillard Women in Leadership Scholarship will provide the full cost of undergraduate course fees, a cash stipend of $2,000 per annum, and a one-off $6,000 grant for an international study experience.

For more information about the scholarship, visit here.