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Boost for outstanding regional graduates


Three South Australian Catholic school graduates with big plans for the future are off to a good start with their university studies after receiving scholarships from the Playford Trust.

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The Trust provides support for outstanding students from regional SA enrolling as undergraduates to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subjects at one of the State’s three universities.

Joshua Graham from Caritas College, Port Augusta, Dana Hurrell, from St Joseph’s School, Port Lincoln, and Isabella Trigwell from Samaritan College, Whyalla, were among six regional students to receive $4000 each.

They were presented with their Regional Science and Engineering  awards along with other scholarship recipients at the University of South Australia’s Pridham Hall on April 7.

Established in 1983 in honour of Sir Thomas Playford, SA’s longest-serving Premier, the Trust and its partners will provide more than $700,000 to support about 100 new and continuing university and TAFE students during 2021.

Playford Trust chair, former SA Premier Dean Brown, said the regional scholarships were awarded to promising students who faced practical and financial disadvantages associated with living away from their home and community.

“The funds are intended to help the recipients cover the additional expenses associated with living and studying in Adelaide, and being removed from the usual level of family support,” he said.

Joshua is undertaking a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide. A school captain at Caritas in 2020, he received the St Mary MacKillop of the Cross Leaderhsip Award for his commitment to the school ethos and his concern for those in need as well as his active participation in the school community.

He also received the Australian Defence Force Future Innovators award for demonstrating innovation and learning in the fields of science, technology and mathematics. Joshua developed an interest in space science during Year 12 and hopes to transfer into the Bachelor of Science (Space Science and Astrophysics) degree.

His aim is to contribute to the South Australian space industry and to developments such as Lot Fourteen. The first in his family to attend university, he is respected as hard-working student who strives to achieve to the best of his abilities. Alongside Physics, he studied Chemistry, Mathematical Methods and Material Solutions in Year 12, and received an A+ for his research project about the possible impact self-driving cars on the need for driving qualifications.

Dana has enrolled in a double degree of Science and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide. She was female school captain and Performing Arts captain in 2020.

She achieved subject Dux awards in Specialist Mathematics, Chemistry and Music (Solo Performance), and received the Mayor’s Leadership and John Loller Christian Leadership awards.

Dana also has a passion for music and is studying for Grade 7 AMEB piano, having been awarded Honours in Grades 5 and 6. Dana has participated in many community outreach programs, including Fred’s Van and the establishment of a Youth Group in Saint Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, Port Lincoln. She participated in the Queen’s Baton Relay in 2018, was captain of Port Lincoln Swimming Club for three years and has worked as a swimming instructor and private piano teacher.

Dana aspires to become a secondary school teacher specialising in chemistry and mathematics. She is undertaking a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) and plans to then progress to a Master of Teaching.

Isabella is studying a Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Biotechnology) at Flinders University. Head girl and Dux of Samaritan College, she received the UniSA Whyalla Campus Award for Academic Excellence, the Eddie Hughes Award for Literary Analysis and Appreciation and the Johnston Withers Lawyers Award for Excellence in Year 12 Legal Studies.

Isabella says her single father’s success as a software developer motivated her from a young age to pursue a future in STEM. She now aspires to a career in academia and hopes that by completing an Honours research project she can broaden scientific knowledge regarding the medical applications of biotechnology.

Isabella took immense pride in her involvement in the school community and says she aims to further develop her leadership skills at university. Her role as head girl challenged her to collaborate regularly with teachers, SRC members, and external organisations to coordinate events and fundraisers. She also had the opportunity to develop skills in public speaking.


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