Deakin Teaching student to become Rhodes Scholar
Deakin Master of Teaching student Gia-Yen Luong will swap the tropics of Darwin for the famous halls of Oxford University when she takes up a prestigious offer to study as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in 2019.
Ms Luong, a participant of the Teach for Australia program who also holds a Law/Science degree, will be Deakin’s first Rhodes Scholar.
Currently teaching at Palmerston College in Darwin, Ms Luong will use the scholarship to complete a Master of Teaching, majoring in comparative and international education.
“Ideally I want to go and see what we may be able to do differently, after learning from others,” she said.
The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate honour awarded to 95 students from around the world each year.
The award is open to nine Australians each year, including one from each state and three from across the nation.
Ms Luong grew up in Adelaide and her family is from Vietnam. She received the South Australia award during a ceremony hosted by the Governor of South Australia, Hieu Van Le, AC.
“I’ve had this on my radar since I finished high school, because I knew I wanted to do something really significant with my life, but at the time I wasn’t sure what,” Ms Luong said.
That “something really significant” turned out to be teaching, when she realised it was the perfect way for her to make a difference to the world after completing a double degree in Law/Science at the University of New South Wales.
“When I was studying Law I thought I would go on to be a lawyer, because lawyers can help to create social change, but the more I thought about it I realised that if someone needs a lawyer to help them then they probably needed help way before that, in high school – someone to help them focus on learning,” Ms Luong said.
She remembered the influence a teacher had on her after telling her to always strive for her best and decided that she wanted to be able to influence others too.
For now she is doing that at Palmerston College in Darwin, but eventually looks forward to returning to South Australia, equipped with the learnings of her teaching studies to be able to make a difference to many young peoples’ lives.
Deakin Faculty of Arts and Education Acting Executive Dean Professor Matthew Clarke said the University was thrilled Ms Luong had received the prestigious award.
“Students like Gia-Yen encompass exactly what it means to be a teacher, to be passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people and to be able to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to in turn go on and make a contribution to their community,” Professor Clarke said.
“Both Deakin and the Teach for Australia program aspires to support young people like Gia-Yen to enter the classroom in places far and wide and use their skills, passion and knowledge to prepare students for the future.”