Winners for May 2015 – Making a Difference

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Portrait image of Warih.Well the results are now in. The winner of the scholarship round ending in May 2015 is

  • I Dream Their Dream by Warih H.

Warih gets a no-strings cash award of $2,000.

We hope that Warih makes good use of the prize to further her ambitions as a professional planner in Indonesia.

Runner-Up Entries

Based on the judges' scores, 4 runner-up entries were determined. Each receives a consolation cash award of $200. The runner-up entries for this round are:

  • Life in the Cloud
  • It's a Miracle
  • Narnia
  • This Time Around


The winning and runner-up entries were chosen by a 4-person panel, consisting of:

Each judge chose their top 5 entries from the shortlisted entries (which have all been published on this site). Scores were assigned (5 for the top entry, 4 for second, 3 for third, etc) for each judge's selections. Scores were then added to decide the overall winner and runner-up entries.

I Dream Their Dream

~ by Warih R, who wants to study for a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree with Florida University

I am a bachelor graduate of the Urban and Regional Planning Program of Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. I wish to continue my studies through an online masters program in Urban and Regional Planning, because I dream to be a professional planner.

I have a dream to help remote communities in my country to obtain their basic necessities, so they can easily access great quality infrastructure and facilities. If I become a professional planner, I will build and repair the transportation infrastructure that will connect remote areas to the cities – to improve their transport system and to expedite their goods distribution so that the remote areas community will not be isolated. I will build health facilities so that sick isolated people will no longer be neglected and increase their life expectancy rates. I will build schools, lots of schools, in the remote areas to help other children get higher education and reach their dream respectively. My biggest dream is to help people in rural and remote areas to have easy access to their basic needs.

Thank you for this opportunity to be a step closer to my dream. Hopefully, later, I can also help others to reach their dreams.

Life in the Cloud

~  by Lisa Cooper, who is studying for a Bachelor of Arts (History) degree with Deakin University

Dinner in the market square beneath Cloth Hall, Ypres (Belgium), two days before Anzac Day 2014. I was enjoying the company of one of Australia’s leading military historians, who questioned my career going forward. “Drop the journalist tag, you’re a writer. If you ever want to work for me, I don’t look at anyone who hasn’t done their Masters in military history.”

I was taken back by what he said before I started to wonder, why wasn’t I doing that? Military history is my passion. It has been for a decade. I felt intense excitement as I realised, life was about to change forever. But could I do it? A student at my age? Never did I think I’d make it to Europe either, and yet there I was.

Within weeks of returning home, I’d enrolled at Deakin University as a Cloud student, studying my BA (History). I’m in the second year of my five year plan moving forward, which includes obtaining my Masters in Military History through ADFA. From that night last year, my life has exploded with excitement, opportunities and a future I never thought possible, all thanks to Cloth Hall, an historian and Deakin Cloud.

It's a Miracle

~  by Steven, who is studying for a Diploma in Business and Management with Martin College

The snow is falling outside and I don't know what the temperature is, but its well below zero on this wintry day in Moscow in February. In fact, the temperature won't be getting above zero for a couple of months.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, my facilitator is reading my submission, my assessment task one, in the heat of an Australian summer. We are working together for my education, my success, from a world of different extremes – political, geographical and climatic. It seems impossible, a dream, but it is reality.

I have to go to work now, so I pack my bag, put on my fur-lined coat, gloves and woollen hat and march out into the street. I have an English lesson to give, but my mind is still on my studies. I am just wondering what he'll be thinking 14,000 kilometres away.

Outside the streets are icy, the snow is still falling and the early morning church bells are ringing – maybe for this mid-winter miracle that is online study.


~  by A.Atkins, who wants to study for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree with the University of New England

(published with permission of author prior to scholarship round closing)

To me, online study is akin to the wardrobe that leads to Narnia. I have a chronic, debilitating illness; I am physically disabled. Making my way to a university campus daily is far too much for my troublesome body; but a new world has been opened up thanks to Australian universities adopting current, advancing technologies.

Presently, people from many different walks of life have access to the knowledge delivered by some of our wisest professors. Australians like myself now have the same opportunity to grow and to flourish, but from our own homes. Not so long ago, this was once a long sought after dream.

Today, I have the opportunity to open up my laptop and enter a whole new world of possibility. I feel that online study is synonymous with opportunity; just as would be a whole new world. Just like my very own Narnia.

This Time Around

~  by Catherine Shrubsole, who is studying for a Master of Employment Relations degree with Griffith University

The cool emanations from my digital devices, the muted chirps, the look and feel of high design, the experience of reality collapsed – more data, less time – this is my life as an online student. Immediate fingertip access to warehouses of theory and research and global academic discussion is thrilling and overwhelming. The responsibility of the seeker-learner to consume, synthesise, analyse and deliver something meaningful, seems crushing.

While I may study by myself, I am not alone. My masters and fellow learners around the world are contributing their energies and scholarship to my efforts. We may not be in the same room but we are a class, a University without walls. We may not meet but we do collaborate. We may never shake hands but we do touch one another’s minds. We share our stories by tap and click, swipe and swish, in our own illuminated text.

Just as students have always learned from their teachers’ stories, we learn and grow from this storytelling. We have moved away from the glow of the campfire and the expanse of the lecture hall. We hold the portal to our learning universe. Enter now.

Online College Degree

~  by tngalvan13, who is studying for a Bachelors in Business Management degree with the University of Phoenix

I wanted to be a college graduate but I didn't know how to become one. I went to my local community college but there were so many hoops to jump through. They made it almost impossible for a working single mother to enroll in college, let alone attend.

A couple of years went by and I reached out to the University of Phoenix. They made it very simple to enroll and, even better, I can attend class on my time. I didn't think that getting my Bachelor's Degree in Business Management was possible. Thanks to the University of Phoenix, I have completed 5 courses so far. The time actually flew right by.

I have a full time job and I am able to find time during the day and night to login to read my chapters and complete my tasks. It does take determination to commit yourself.

I wanted to make my life better for my daughters. I want my daughters to graduate from college but felt I couldn't expect that from them if I didn't do it myself. Now they see me at the computer and they know that mommy is doing school work. They are very proud of me. I talk about them going to college like mommy.

Lazy? No, practical!

~  by Louis Queale, who is studying for a Bachelor of Property and Real Estate degree with Deakin University

My family and friends ask me "So how is university going?" and I have the pleasure of describing my daily routine. This consists of sleeping In when I want, staying in pajamas all day and making my own timetables.

They envy the lifestyle, the truth is that I get the same education as on-campus students. I am getting a degree, I am learning everyday, I am an online student and it is the way of the future.

School is My Thing

~  by Stefania Franja, who is studying for a Bachelor of Psychological Science degree with Deakin University

I’ve spent my life convinced School is Not My Thing.

I have gone from being intimidated and frustrated by the education system, to creating my own way of learning, where I get to take the “school” out of it, left with just fascinating things to explore, with the support of inspiring people. I get to learn where I want, at the pace I want, whenever I want, in the comfort of my cabin in the woods.

My dog is my study buddy, my kitchen is my cafeteria, my couch is my classroom. I decide where and when I take class, when to take a break, and how to construct my days, just like always.

No matter where I am in the world, whether it a busy Brooklyn café, or a quiet cabin upstate, the moment my fingers connect to my laptop, I feel comforted, knowing, that here is my private sanctuary, where I quietly achieve things I never thought possible.

My ticket to a more purposeful life, my way out of waitressing, way out of minimum wage, comes with just one simple requirement – the Internet.

Uni Mum

~  by Kristen Elliott, who is studying for a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education degree with the Chisholm Institute of TAFE

A day in the life of a Uni Mum of two ... plus one

I wake up at three to Miss Four climbing in bed,
Next thing I know its the noise that I dread
The alarm goes off, hubby's off for the day,
The girls are up dancing, Taylor Swift on repeat , HOORAY!

Lunches and hair and clothes all dramatic,
Our life is anything but pragmatic.

By the way did I mention,
I need to bring this to your attention,
A bun in the oven, five months to go,
I'm a mum of two plus one, anything but slow.

The children at placement want to know why it's there,
Who made it happen, why, when and where?
Inquisitive minds they embrace us whole hearted,
Even though as teachers our careers have just started.

Back at home after the day, our kids counting sheep,
The laptop I open and take a peep.
Forever grateful I am, completing my degree this way,
Just a mum of two plus one in her pj's, saving the day!

Future Mind Regulator

~  by Shamika Carraway, who wants to study for an Associate in Psychology degree with University of Phoenix Online

I have taken the first step to continuing my education by starting my online degree in Psychology. I have chosen the online option due to my work schedule.

I am a single mom, working twelve hours of rotating shifts exchanging every two months from nights to days. Online education would be my only option of continuing my education.

I have chosen to major in Psychology because I can sympathize with so much going on in the world today. Some problems are inevitable and difficult for some to get over. A mental illness can take a huge toll over your life if the issue isn't treated. That’s where I come in at. I hope to learn and apply my knowledge to make a great impact on millions of lives worldwide.

We all suffer with a mental illness to a certain extent; some just handle it better than others. A mind is a vital part of someone, without it we wouldn’t have a reason for life on earth. I hope to receive this scholarship to help with funding in accomplishing one of many goals and to show my son that anything is possible with education.

Like Online Shopping

~  by Megan Young, who is studying for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree with Deakin University

People ask me constantly 'Why on earth would I choose to give up the "university lifestyle" so that I can stay at home?' and the answer is simple. I always respond the same way. 'Why in the world would anyone want to get up and be at a lecture at 8.30am and live off two-minute noodles, when they have the choice to sleep in as late as they want, do lectures when it fits into your pre-existing life and have a hot home cooked meal every night (thanks mum!)?' That response wins most people over.

It's like online shopping, you can do it in your pyjamas while sitting on the couch and stuffing your face with junk food. What's not to love? I know plenty of people who have picked up their lives and moved on campus and, while I do sometimes envy their live lectures and face to face contact time, I wouldn't change my choice at all.

My university life works around my work, family and social life, not the other way around, and I wouldn't give that up for anything. It has given me a head start, the ability to stay at home with my family's support and save some money all while gaining a stress free, flexible education that suits me.

Deakin – Truly Worldly

~  by Rachel Carr, who is studying for a Master of International and Community Development degree with Deakin University

Studying online via my laptop from both Bendigo and Melbourne has not restricted my worldly experience; it's broadened it.

Discussions on our discussion boards around development with Sally the journalist living in Timor-Leste, Claire the social worker in Kenya, Julian the teacher in the Philippines. People I never would have encountered sitting in a classroom. People whose knowledge and experience has SO developed and deepened by understanding of the challenges and opportunities of development from both a local and international perspective. Breaking down the barriers of race, culture and borders and allowing for a shared experience in a desire to improve our communities, one step at a time.

Studying online has allowed for me to ask John in Vanuatu what the impact of natural disasters can be on a rural community. It’s allowed me to discuss what constitutes a community with Alison in Cambodia, who is volunteering in a marginalized ethnic community. Studying online has allowed me to experience learning beyond the four walls of a classroom, and has deeply enriched my learning experience.

A Bright Future ... Maybe

~ by Tiana, who wants to study for Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) and Bachelor of Music degrees with the University of New England

(published with permission of author prior to scholarship round closing)

As a high-achieving high school student, my dream has always been to go to university and become a teacher. I've wanted that since I was 8 years old. But life has forced me to change my plans a little. With tragedies and heartbreak, my life has gone on a downward spiral and I thought there was no chance of university because my family needs me.

Then I heard of online study and I finally found an alternate way to achieve my dream. Everyone says that studying online will be hard but there are plenty of people who will be able to support me and then I'll be able to support them when I finish and get a job.

I've always loved teaching, as I help my little sister with her homework and anything she doesn't understand, and I think teaching primary students will be the most fulfilling since they're so eager to learn. I just hope to finish my courses as best I can, learn as much as I can, and find a job close to home.

Greg! The Stop Sign

~  by JohnnyE, who wants to study for a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) degree with Deakin University

Greg was the kind of man that men wanted to be and women wanted to be with. He was the former school captain of an elite private college and just starting out on university study.

Greg didn’t need to go to university to get a job. His father owned a big advertising business. Greg could work his way up through the family firm. But Greg wanted to get a qualification. High-achieving Greg should have a degree!

Greg could choose to study online if he wanted to. It probably made sense. He was living with his parents on a property on the outskirts of Melbourne. There wasn’t a uni nearby. Plus Greg was busy with training for AFL. It was tough fitting travel to university into his lifestyle. But he opted for on-campus study anyway.

Greg got up early one morning to make the long drive to the city campus. He was tired from a late training session the night before. Greg rounded a bend in the road that came to an intersection. He didn’t notice the semi-trailer crossing his path. Greg failed to give way. Greg, the stop sign!

Greg died because he wasn’t studying online. A lesson for everyone.

I Can Be More

~  by Reality Unknown, who wants to study for an Associates in Arts degree with the University of Phoenix

From the age of 15 I have always been employed. I support myself and at times throughout my life I had to support my younger siblings and even my Mother. I was always too busy to think about myself and never even imagined that I could do more than just “get by”.

I quietly sat, watching my coworkers get promotions or move on to bigger better companies never allowing myself to dream of more because I knew I lacked the educational requirements to be more than entry level.

In recent years the popularity of Online Education has increased tremendously and for the first time I am allowing myself to see a future. With the flexibility of online classes I could actually get my degree and pave my own path. I can dream big and I can say “this is my time”, I can make a difference, I can change, I can be more.