The 2014 class of Tuckwell scholars was announced in June earlier this year. Rest assured; according to an ANU press release, selection panellist Brian Schmidt affirms “they are really great thinkers, they are interesting people and they really just want to learn.”

The 25 scholars will touch down at the ANU next year, coming from different regions across Australia.

“We were after a highly talented group of students from all around Australia; from the city, from the country, from private schools, from Catholic schools, from government schools. That’s what we’ve got,” says Graham Tuckwell.

When asked what it feels like to be the only Tasmanian scholar, Jessica Woolnough (pictured) of Hellyer College replied “to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I think it is wonderful to have diversity within the Tuckwell scholars – this not only lies in what region of Australia we come from, but also within our journeys thus far and our passions”.

The generous scholarship is valued at $20 000 per year for up to 5 years of undergraduate study.

For NSW scholar Abirami Rajkumar, the Tuckwell scholarship facilitates her study at the ANU and allows her to enjoy a collegial experience, which she describes as “a dream come true”.

“I don’t live with my family so it would have been financially impossible to move over [without the scholarship]… I wouldn’t have been able to afford campus accommodation.”

“I found out [that I had received the scholarship] through a personal phone call from Mr Tuckwell…the greatest phone call of my adolescent life. I felt absolutely over the moon and was humbled to know that hard work and dedication is truly rewarded”.

The scholars were put through several application stages, which culminated in a weekend of individual and group interviews, as well as a tour of the ANU campus.

“The interview process was one of the greatest weekends of my life. Being in such close proximity with such amazing individuals and professionals was an absolute honour,” says Rajkumar. “It was nice to know the panel simply wanted to get to know you for who you truly were”.

Not knowing what to expect from the interview, Woolnough read her application and reflected upon herself, her goals, values and passions. “In other words, I felt quite unprepared! A little nervous too, but excited to be given the opportunity”.

The Graham and Louise Tuckwell Foundation launched applications for the inaugural Tuckwell Scholarship in February this year. In order to be selected, shortlisted students had to exhibit the Tuckwell values of integrity, humility and generosity, demonstrate academic and social achievement, a commitment to Australia and a desire to “give back” to the nation.

Graham Tuckwell, an alumnus of ANU, describes ‘the Tuckwell vision’ as an illustrious community of academics to grow over time, where students and alumni “will inspire and support each other to achieve great things”.

In addition to the Tuckwell’s generous grant, the class of 2014 will be admitted to Scholars House, be paired with a personal academic mentor from the ANU and enjoy membership to the ANU Sport & Recreation Society.

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