Weizmann Summer school Alumni success!

August 10, 2021

An emerging science star and 2019 Weizmann Institute Summer School Alumnus recently had her prolific talent recognised, being awarded both the Charles Allen Seymor Hawker Scholarship of $60,000 over three years, and the 2021 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Scholarship of $20,000.

Sai Campbell is a third year Bachelor of Philosophy (Science) student at the Australian National University (ANU) and a Research and Technical Assistant at the John Curtin School of Medical Research and ANU Research School of Epidemiology and Public Health and was one of the last Australian students to attend the Weizmann International Summer School (ISSI) before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Sai explained that the C.A.S Hawker Scholarship is a full scholarship and supports her studies at ANU, while the 2021 Boston Consulting Group Scholarships was awarded to only three undergraduate students from across Australia and New Zealand, who demonstrate exceptional ability in academic performance in the top 5% cohort, leadership, critical thinking and communication.

“The Hawker scholarship will cover all my university expenses, including living on campus, and see me to the end of my studies, so I am so very grateful,” said Sai.

“I will use the BCG scholarship to fund a research project I am working on that examines the experiences of low socio-economic students at elite institutions, investigating tangible changes that could be made to improve diversity and representation in these environments.”

“I sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am and how much my life has changed from cleaning hotel rooms with my mum to save up money for schoolbooks to now studying viruses in a lab and living at college on a full scholarship,” she said.

When focussing on the future, Sai’s thoughts are on making a difference.

“My sincerest hope is that I can one day pay it forward and play a part in bringing about systemic change to how individuals from underprivileged backgrounds are treated in STEM fields,” she said.

This is also not the first of Sai’s scholarships.  In her first year out of high school, Sai received a competitive scholarship, generously sponsored by the Trawalla Foundation, to participate in the prestigious ISSI science research program at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.  The program greatly inspired her and she subsequently reached out to researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and was awarded a scholarship to conduct research in the blood cancers division.

Weizmann Australia’s Executive Director, Rina Michael, was thrilled to hear of Sai’s latest successes and to know that Sai’s time at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel acted as an inspiration to her.

“Weizmann Australia is delighted (and not surprised!) that Sai’s science research career is going so well and that she is receiving these well deserved awards.  I vividly recall Sai presenting as such an excellent, mature and humble ISSI candidate.  Scholarships are so important in helping to support talented students through their academic journey and we thank the Trawalla Foundation for making the scholarship available for Sai and others,” Rina said.

“We wish Sai all the best and will report on her career with interest as time goes by.  We encourage all our ISSI Alumni to keep Weizmann Australia updated on their progress.”

The Charles Hawker Scholarship was established by Mrs Lilias Needham, in memory of her brother Charles Allan Seymour Hawker, and is one of the most generous privately funded scholarships available to undergraduate and postgraduate students in Australia. Since 1990, the Trustees have awarded more than six million dollars to 132 young Australians, including a significant number from regional areas.  The three successful applicants this year were awarded Hawker Scholarships from an Australia wide field of 223.

About Sai Campbell

Sai Campbell is currently a 3rd year Bachelor of Philosophy (Science) student and a Research and Technical Assistant at the John Curtin School of Medical Research as well as the National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health. She was previously based at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare examining Dementia data and is an alumnus of the 2019 International Science Summer Institute in Israel. Sai has a keen interest in Immunology and Cancer research and hopes to eventually work in the intersection of those two fields of study.

Sai is deeply passionate about equity and accessibility in Science, particularly the representation of individuals from low-SES and minority backgrounds which underpins a large part of her work with the ANU Student Association and her college.

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