How an economics scholarship kickstarts a dream

27 September 2021
Big dreams start with humble beginnings for Indigenous student
Jake Lewis is a proud Wiradjuri man dreaming of ways to change the world – and the Sandra Cadwallader Scholarship could be the ticket for him do just that.
Jake Lewis

Pictured: Jake Lewis.

Making it to university was a lifelong dream for Jake Lewis, whose ongoing curiosity to make sense of the world brought him to the University of Sydney. Highly regarded at home and professionally, making the choice to attend the historical institution was easy.

“Growing up I have always wanted to go to university,” he says. “School was enjoyable, and I knew that uni would be even more enjoyable as I would be studying something that I enjoy and would be surrounded by like-minded people.”

Whenever I would ask someone about university, Sydney Uni was always regarded as highly honourable and a level above the rest.
Jake Lewis, Economics student

A life-changing scholarship making dreams a reality

A recipient of the Sandra Cadwallader Indigenous Economics Scholarship, Jake has been able to pursue his passion for economics in all the ways that matter, alleviating any concerns around financial and tuition support. This has allowed him to dedicate his full focus on excelling in his studies.

“The moment that I found out about the scholarship was amazing. I felt a huge mixture of both happiness and relief,” he remembers. “I raced outside to tell my mum and dad what had happened and being so excited that I forgot to look where I was going and tripped over my own feet. Hearing that I had received the scholarship made me so happy, especially around the time of the ATAR releases. I felt the pressures from the whole year and the stresses of the HSC wash away as I read the email from the uni.”

My whole life has been changed from this scholarship; I am so very grateful for this opportunity.
Jake Lewis, scholarship recipient

Passions fuelled by family

Economics found its way into Jake Lewis’ life almost immediately in high school, paving the way to a lifelong passion that would lead to a future at the University of Sydney.

 “I developed a deep interest into the subject, and I would often study extra hours for it because I enjoyed it so much,” he explains. “I began to follow the economy on a daily basis and develop an interest in the share market.”

Jake draws on his family roots to pursue his passion in economics. He is a proud Indigenous Australian with his family hailing from the Wiradjuri people and it’s their dedication that helps drive him to do as best he can in this new stage of his life.

“Spending time with my family is one of my favourite things to do,” he says, clearly drawing strength from their support. “My Indigenous heritage comes from my father's side of the family. Helen Denise Lewis (formerly Helen Rivers) is my nan, who has sadly passed away,” he tells us. “My nan was born in Tumut in 1942 and grew up as a proud Wiradjuri woman.”

While the idea of success comes in many forms, for Jake, it’s quite simply being able to support his family, paying it forward through opportunities like this scholarship, and making the most of them.

For me, ‘success’ means being able to look after my family.
Jake Lewis, Indigenous student

“My Mum and Dad have put in so much to give my sister and I the best opportunities in life so far,” he says. “I want to be able to give back to them financially, so they do not have to work as hard or struggle one single bit.”

Growing up in a strong family that recognises the power of hard work and helping others, Jake understands the life-changing impact of economics can have on the average person and hopes his studies will enable him to do that for others.

Something as simple as creating an economic policy could change the lives of thousands of people.
Jake Lewis, Economics student

“As cliché as it sounds, changing the world by helping others would be the one thing that I would do,” he says. “I can only begin to imagine the satisfaction that would be felt by bringing joy to others.”

Interested in studying Economics at the University of Sydney? Visit the School of Economics for more information.

Words by Margaret Tran.

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