Bendigo’s Rebecca Duke will study at the University of Oxford next year after being awarded the 2017 Victorian Rhodes Scholarship.
The former Girton Grammar School student studied at the University of Melbourne where she completed a bachelor of arts (with honours) majoring in psychology with first class honours and also graduated with a diploma in languages.
Ms Duke is also an accomplished dancer having studied ballet full time for two years after leaving Girton in year 9. She completed distance education while dancing.
“The opportunity (for the scholarship) arose quite recently and I was encouraged enter by a teacher from Girton, Amanda Scott, who was my year 9 English teacher and has been a personal and academic mentor to me for years,” Ms Duke said.
When she arrives at Oxford next September, Ms Duke will research the way internet-based technologies affect the educational engagement of young people.
She aims to developing programs that address emerging challenges.
“I will be looking at psychological side of that, beginning with my masters,” she said. “Personally my education was influenced by technology because my teachers were on screens. I have always been interested in how technology mediates experiences in every day life.
“My honours project honed on the affect of passive social media use and the impact of that in term cognitive focus, negative aspects and self objectification.”
But despite her upcoming years of study in the UK, Ms Duke knows Bendigo will still be firmly in her heart.
“My parents are still based there and both general practioners and my brother went to Girton as well,” she said.
“So Bendigo is my home, it is my family’s home and a really special place to me.”
A second Girton Grammar student is also hoping to head to Oxford next year.
Connor Rochford is awaiting the results of his application for the Australian Rhodes Scholarship. He will find out his fate in late November.
If successful he will study a masters in social policy.
“Rebecca is such a deserving winner and a future leader of Australia,” he said.
“We were in the same year at Girton. I finished in 2010 and did undergraduate medicine at Monash with a diploma of philosophy and honours in public policy.”
Mr Rochford hopes to have a career involving public policy.
“I have an interest in policy implication and providing Australians with equal access to heath and well being,” he said. “While clinical work is rewarding and important, there are limitations. You can diagnose someone but they can’t afford to a fill prescription. I have a passionate belief that we can do things better.”