HUNTER woman Kate Field said her life had been transformed into “something from a dream”, after she was named an inaugural recipient of The Katrina Dawson Foundation Scholarship.
Ms Field, 18, is one of three women chosen from across the country to receive financial assistance and mentoring while attending The Women’s College within The University of Sydney.
Ms Dawson’s family established the foundation and scholarships as a way to honour the beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and barrister, who died in the December 2014 Sydney siege.
“Katrina was elected Senior Student at the college and there’s some of her here, I feel that around the college,” Ms Field said.
“I felt walking into Women’s College on my first day that there was a time that Katrina did that herself.
“You literally feel weightless and like you can do anything, because there have been so many women who have done so many phenomenal things come through those doors.”
Ms Field and fellow recipients Angie Lu and Catherine Priestley were chosen based on their academic results and community engagement and leadership.
Ms Field grew up in Baerami, more than 20 kilometres west of Denman and spent about three hours each day making the round trip between home and St Joseph’s High School at Aberdeen on her “mobile office” school bus.
She was a state contender for Lions Youth of the Year two years running, a facilitator for environmental initiative Youth Leading the World, and involved in musical theatre, singing and public speaking.
Ms Field received an ATAR of 97.95 last year and was named dux of her school.
“I’d always been interested in living in a college because I thought it would be a really fantastic place to study and be around people from different backgrounds and learn from them,” she said.
“When I opened up the email congratulating me it took my breath away and I was so still reading it over and over. I was so over the moon, I’m smiling just thinking about it.
“It’s opened up so many doors for me that would not have been available without the scholarship.
“Every day I think my life has become something from a dream.”
But Ms Field said she was also mindful of the tragic loss from which her scholarship was born.
“There’s a reason for this scholarship and that’s embedded in a sad and horrific event, but out of that has come something so wonderful,” she said.
“I get very emotional about it. Katrina is such an incredible figure to aspire to.”
Ms Field said she and the other scholarship recipients have met with Ms Dawson’s family, who she described as inspiring, supportive and always interested in the students progress.
She recently commenced second semester of her three-year Bachelor of Architecture and Environments and plans to study for a Master in Urban Design.
“My ultimate goal is to work in the Asia Pacific and help communities affected by climate change and sea levels rising,” she said.
“I want to build communities to be more sustainable so they are not affected by environmental challenges.”