The RN Spann Scholarship, established in 1989 and supported by various donors in honour of Professor Richard Neville Spann, is awarded to the student who achieves the highest marks in the final year of the Master of Public Policy.
Alexander Webb is the latest recipient to receive the $1,200 scholarship for earning top marks in one of the most competitive political science degrees.
I was very grateful to win the RN Spann Scholarship, it’s wonderful and encouraging to be recognised. Throughout university, I worked hard to support my education, so receiving the scholarship certainly helped to ease some of the associated costs.
Alexander chose postgraduate study at the University of Sydney after completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Newcastle.
“I decided to go down the path of the Master of Public Policy, not just because I wanted to pursue a policy career, but because I was also intellectually engaged in the area. I wanted to have a meaningful voice in discussions about how we organise society, and the best way to do this is through impactful policy decisions,” explained Alexander.
“Completing the Master of Public Policy has provided me with the essential building blocks for a career in public policy. Learning various methods of research and analysis, and applying them to real-world public policy issues was extremely valuable. Expanding my knowledge in this space and enhancing my critical thinking skills has really helped me at the start of my career.”
Alexander is particularly passionate about communications and environmental policy. Earlier this year, he started a public service role in Canberra working on communications policy, which he finds both dynamic and rewarding owing to the evolving nature of the policy area.
Asked if he has any advice for current students, Alexander said: “Stay curious and don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask your lecturers, tutors and fellow students questions. Take this time at university to think critically about the world and your place in it.”
Like most postgraduate students, doing a masters degree is just as much about the coursework as it is about the connections and you make on campus.
“Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way at university, and chase the opportunities the university provides. For example, I was interested in LGBTQI policy, so I reached out to and was lucky enough to work with Dr Christopher Pepin-Neff, who is a respected academic on policymaking relating to emotional issues such as LGBTQI politics and mass shootings. Make the most of your university experience.”