During high school, Matthew Hughes developed a strong interest in economics – he wanted to understand what drives global developments, to figure out the big picture. “I love learning about the world and current events, and the economies of the world are a huge factor and contributor to current world events,” Matthew says.
“Seeing how different aspects of society come together cohesively to produce results and enable prosperity between the members of that society is extremely interesting to me. I love reading and writing about these different aspects and the functions they serve.”
Matthew is exactly the kind of bright mind the University of Sydney welcomes and nurtures, and he wanted to study at Sydney. “I believed it was the best option to further my interest in economics and would be the perfect starting point to launch, hopefully, a successful career as an economist after graduating,” Matthew says.
But there was just one hitch. Matthew comes from Wauchope, about 400 kilometres north of Sydney, and with the high cost of living in the city, plus student contribution fees, tertiary studies seemed out of reach. “As a family, we weren’t sure how we were going to be able to afford for me to attend university in Sydney and allow me to pursue my dream of studying economics,” Matthew says.
Then came the Sandra Cadwallader Indigenous Economics Scholarship. Established in 2018 through the generous support of Sandra and Peter Cadwallader, this scholarship aims to pave the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to establish a strong presence and vital influence in the economics and finance sector. “Our vision is for students to be able to come out of their degree with zero debt, unencumbered and ready to pursue the economics career of their dreams,” Sandra Cadwallader says.
Matthew is the proud recipient of the inaugural Cadwallader scholarship.Valued at up to $50,000, it covers all of a student’s costs throughout their three-year degree, including the option of an honours year. The funds assist with course fees, accommodation, living expenses and other study-related needs.
“This scholarship essentially allows me to attend the University of Sydney and live in Sydney,” Matthew says. “It enables me to afford rent and living expenses in Sydney, which removes a tremendous amount of worry, allowing me to concentrate on my studies.”
Matthew finds his interests are already expanding. He is currently keen on agricultural economics and he has already devised another big picture: “After graduating with a Bachelor of Economics, I hope to find myself in a position where I will be able to give back to the community,” he says. “Especially with a focus on improving the economic welfare of the Indigenous communities around Australia and the local area in which I grew up.”
New to the University this year, Matthew is enjoying settling in. “The University of Sydney and the Mana Yura student support team has already provided me with multiple opportunities that have helped make my journey and transition to uni life easier and made me feel comfortable in a place that originally felt so foreign to me,” Matthew says.
Professor Garry Barrett, Head of the School of Economics says: “While economics remains popular among students at the University of Sydney, it is critical that this field of study be inclusive and attract a diverse student cohort.”
The University of Sydney acknowledges diversity improves outcomes in all contexts: classrooms, lecture theatres, workplaces, boardrooms, government. Now the Sandra Cadwallader scholarship is opening doors into economics. The University also offers numerous other scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students.