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Scholarship accelerates Millie’s plans to study abroad

There is no doubt Millie Vernick is a force. Living out of home since high school, the 20-year-old Griffith law student juggles the rigours of study and work, while finding time for others as a mentor and volunteer.

She credits her Griffith Futures Scholarship with giving her the resources she needed to prioritise her education and pursue new opportunities.

“When I found out I was receiving the scholarship, I was overwhelmed with joy,” she said.

“I don’t have the words to describe how much it helped, it took an enormous weight off my shoulders and stopped me from tossing and turning at night.”

Millie grew up in a small rural town in Queensland and has supported herself financially since she was 17, she now lives independently on the Gold Coast where she attends university.

Although moving closer to campus was a good move for Millie, her first year at university and the pressures of managing a 25-hour work week and full-time study, weighed on her.

“I was worried about my assignments, stressing about my finances and trying to navigate university.”

The Griffith Futures Scholarship gave her financial relief, enabling Millie to halve her work hours and focus on her Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Government and International Relations.

It also paid for a laptop and textbooks and helped to finance a scholarship application to study on exchange overseas.

“It removed the financial strain of supporting myself and gave me the confidence to invest in what I was doing at university,” she said

“I have always put everything into my education and this scholarship made my day and life so much easier.”

With more time to study, Millie’s grade point average increased.

She also had time to apply and win the coveted Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Colombo Plan scholarship.

The Colombo Plan will fund Millie’s student exchange at Hong Kong University and landed her an internship at Price Waterhouse Coopers in Shanghai, an opportunity offered to only a handful of the 125 scholarship recipients.

Millie used funds from her Griffith Futures Scholarship to work on the vigorous seven-month Colombo Plan application.

“I would not have been able to put so much time into my application without the Futures Scholarship, it effectively bought me time to do everything I needed to.”

Cyber security and law will be a focus for Millie when on exchange this year.

She is particularly interested in Hong Kong’s advanced cyber security legislation and how it relates to protecting the country and individuals.

“Human rights are my core passion and people need help in the cyber security context,” she said

“Child exploitation and human trafficking occur online and if you don’t have adequate cyber security defences and laws, how can you prosecute?

“I’m driven to help people and want to do something meaningful that makes a difference in people’s lives.”

Millie volunteered at Amnesty International last year and hopes to continue her involvement with the not-for-profit organisation.

She also mentors Griffith first year law students.

“I can’t donate money, but I can donate time, it feels good to pay it forward,” she said.

Millie’s Griffith education and scholarship gave her the opportunity to give back and fast-tracked her success.

“If you told me two years ago I would have an overseas scholarship, I would not have believed it,” she said.

“I want to thank the Annual Appeal and Staff Giving donors for supporting my education and the program.

“It allowed me to work less and concentrate on my studies, and has changed my life, none of this would have been possible without it.”