Prestige win to fund Cairns scholar in China
A YOUNG Cairns woman will receive one of the country's most prestigious awards after being named a John Monash Scholar for 2013.
Kate Smith, 26, will be presented with the $150,000 John Monash Scholarship the Australian equivalent of a Rhodes or Fulbright scholarship by Governor-General Quentin Bryce at Admiralty House, Sydney, in February.
A former student of Trinity Anglican School, Ms Smith will use the scholarship to study for a Master of Environmental Engineering at one of the world's leading engineering universities, Tsinghua University at Beijing, China.
Fluent in five languages and now studying Mandarin at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Ms Smith will complete her engineering studies in the Mandarin language so she can work on water-related projects in both countries.
She graduated from the University of Melbourne with science and arts degrees in 2010 and has spent the last 18 months teaching in China.
General Sir John Monash Foundation chief executive officer Dr Peter Binks said there had been a record 220 applications for the 10 scholarships, the most since they were launched in 2003.
He praised Ms Smith as a worthy recipient. "She is outstanding and will bring great credit to Australia. Our panels believe this is the strongest field yet assembled."
John Monash Scholarships recognise Australians who are potential leaders in their fields. Scholars receive $50,000 a year for up to three years of postgraduate study at the world's best universities.
A childhood cancer survivor, Ms Smith is a former Cairns Young Citizen of the Year, was Victorian and national winner of the Pride of Australia Young Leader Medal in 2009 and was the face of the Pride of Australia Medal campaign in 2010.
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Engineering studies: Kate Smith is off to university in China.