Scholarships open for “high potential” Year 8 girls around Australia

43 girls from 33 public schools across Queensland have received life-changing scholarships worth $20,000 to help them stay and excel in school.

The Harding Miller Education Foundation Scholarship Program provides high-potential Year 9 girls experiencing socio-economic disadvantage with tools and support, and applications for the next round will open July 13 and close on 14 September 2022 for girls currently in Year 8.

Executive Director Cara Varian says the goal of the scholarships is to provide young female scholars with assistance such as new laptops, high speed internet connections, tutoring, career guidance and support to help cover the costs of uniforms, books and school expenses.

“Where these young women have faced barriers, we are offering them a pathway through school and also potentially to university,” Ms Varian said.

“These students have the potential to become leaders in their fields and we hope that the scholarship gives them the support they need to understand and achieve that potential.”

Numerous studies show education can be a key to breaking cycles of disadvantage, with some even showing that for every year a young woman stays in school, she can increase her potential future income by 25 percent.

“Breaking barriers is what drives us at the Harding Miller Education Foundation, with some 800 young women having been given a scholarship since we started offering them in 2016.

“Today we are pleased to announce 162 new scholarships have been given in Australia this year, including the 43 from Queensland, who will be formally recognised in a ceremony tonight,” Ms Varian said.

The Harding Miller Brisbane Awards Night took place at the State Library of Queensland June 28 and included a keynote speech from Professor Sarah Pearson, who holds a PhD in Particle Physics and is the author of eight international patents for cancer diagnosis and novel confectionary. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering who has led the development of innovation ecosystems, been an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, Board Director and Advisor, Physics academic, and represented Australia globally as Chief Scientist and Chief Innovation Officer for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“We’re pleased and proud to support these talented young women. We know their circumstances are often more difficult than those of some of their peers. We want to encourage them to really believe in themselves and know they are capable of anything they put their minds to,” Ms Varian added.

Jamie-Lee Hewetson from Bribie Island State High School says being awarded the Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship will have a profound impact on her future.

“I no longer have contact with my mother or father. I actually moved away from my family and Melbourne to live with my ‘Aunty Sis’. We’re not biologically related but she looks after me and is raising me. She’s 66 years old and receives no foster funding to have me live with her. She began helping me with my schoolwork as soon as I was enrolled at the local school and my grades have improved so much,” Jamie-Lee said.

“I love school and I am now excited about my future. This scholarship will help me continue to achieve academically as my Aunt’s ability to support me becomes more challenging. I want to go to university, achieve a professional career and reach out to my two sisters and brother so I can help them have better lives too.”

Encourage your students to apply for 2023 scholarship round

Ms Varian said that applications will soon open for the next round of scholarships and encouraged girls from Year 8 who think they might qualify, to consider applying.

“If you’re a girl in Year 8, who thinks that your lack of computer, internet or mentoring is holding you back from success, we’d love to hear from you,” Ms Varian said.

“And of course, we would love to hear from more generous donors who can help us fund this program and the wonderful outcomes it is driving for young women.”

To find out more information, teachers can visit

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