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Ross McKinlay’s Story

Former Wesley collegian, Ross McKinlay (fr 2017), is one of five students from the University of Sydney who have been offered the prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarship.

Beginning in August 2022, Ross (fifth-year law student) will be based in Taiwan, New Caledonia and East Timor for up to eighteen months and plans to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to his studies during his time there.

“I want to combine legal insight with new tech developments to address agricultural issues across the Indo-Pacific.” By integrating the industries of law, technology and agriculture, he hopes to engender real-world change.

Although he has always been interested in hydroponics, Ross says he was unable to focus his studies on this area amid paying bills. This scholarship however, will offer him the financial flexibility to study such cutting-edge research areas. He is also looking forward to making all kinds of friendships, which will serve him well in the future. “For me, there’s nothing better than friendships that flip between professional and informal.”

Ross encourages Wesley students to immerse themselves in all aspects of college life and try out new things. Besides the personal skills, he said that “there is no better way of starting a career than by getting to know the experts and becoming friends with them.”

His advice to students who would like to follow a similar career path is to become involved in clubs and volunteering activities. Not only is it of great personal value, but these activities open up a vast network of social connections.

Ross attributes part of his personal growth to the vibrant social life and extracurricular activities offered by Wesley College. Particularly, his involvement in intercollegiate drama and oration pushed him out of his comfort zone. “Wes definitely taught me to be more confident… and develop personal skills that I have used throughout my past jobs and interviews.”

Ross sets an amazing precedent for the kinds of values Wesley College champions. He is ambitious, engaged and focused on inspiring real-world change.

New Colombo Plan

The New Colombo Plan scholarship is a government-sponsored initiative open to Australian university undergraduates aged 18 to 28. The awardees are granted funding to undertake work placements across participating Indo-Pacific countries.

A growing cohort of New Colombo Plan alumni will work to strengthen a network of professional relationships between Australian and Indo-Pacific regions.

The scholarship aims to offer high-achieving student the financial freedom to pursue exciting and targeted research ventures.

Ross is an exemplary recipient of this scholarship and we look forward to hearing about his future endeavours. Congratulations and best wishes to Ross!