The First in the Family Scholarship has been changing lives for 10 years, offering talented young people studying a Bachelor of Commerce the chance to attend university and experience opportunities otherwise not available to them.
Through the Scholarship, more than 100 students have benefited from the generosity of individual and corporate donors, who are passionate about providing the opportunity for ambitious young people from diverse backgrounds to be the first in their family to attend university.
Caitlin Wan and Taylor Holub come from regional Victoria and are remarkable examples of the program’s success.
Growing up in Bendigo, Caitlin was instilled with the value of hard work and encouraged by her parents to achieve a university education, an opportunity they never had themselves. With the financial freedom created by the First in the Family Scholarship, Caitlin was able to move to Melbourne and secure residence at Ormond College, which opened up a network of people and opportunities.
One such opportunity was the chance to study abroad in the US, where she spent a semester studying at Rutgers University as part of her Bachelor of Commerce degree. Six years later, Caitlin fulfilled a promise she made to herself and moved from Melbourne to New York in 2019, securing a role in deals and acquisitions at KPMG. She then moved to the Siegfried Group, where she currently works as a financial consultant.
Although she loves her work, like many First in the Family scholars, Caitlin has great ambitions for her future and wants to continue her passion of helping people and companies during periods of transition.
“I love driving change with companies, so I would love to be a part of something like a company listing, or becoming a CFO or CEO. I want to be at the heart of change and help people and companies change with the world.”
The donors were like this incredible group of people that I didn’t know, but who believed in me. It gave me confidence to go out and achieve extraordinary things that maybe I wouldn’t have reached for if I didn’t have that behind me.
Taylor Holub grew up on Phillip Island and after a short stint working as a labourer decided his goal was to achieve a university education and work in professional services. The First in the Family Scholarship allowed Taylor to focus on his studies and reach his professional goals.
The Scholarship also enabled him to visit his family regularly and continue his lifelong passion for surfing and the outdoors. This was key for his physical and mental wellbeing and enabled him to thrive at university.
“The Scholarship made life easier and gave me confidence, too, because I felt like I could actually make something of myself.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance, Taylor worked in the forensic accounting team at KordaMentha, a Melbourne-based advisory firm, before joining a global pharmaceutical company.
Now the head of finance for the company’s Asia Pacific operation, Taylor is looking forward to continuing to apply the skills learned through his studies in an international setting.
The Scholarship might only seem like a nominal sum of money but it makes a huge difference, and, has the added benefit of helping you feel like you have the potential in life to get where you want to go.
View more stories of impact on our website.