Meet our 2019 Westpac Future Leaders Scholars

26 February 2019
Two students receive support to become Australia's Future Leaders
Esther Schroeder and Joel Palte are 2019 recipients of the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, awarded to outstanding postgraduate students investigating solutions to some of Australia’s most complex issues.

The University of Sydney is proud to announce two students will join the 2019 cohort of Westpac Future Leaders Scholars. Scholars receive up to $120,000 to fund their postgraduate studies, leadership training and membership in a network of supportive alumni.

Esther Schroeder (Master of Global Health)

Esther is a medical doctor with practical experience in the humanitarian and refugee health field, wanting to consolidate coursework and research to better place her to work in the field of refugee mental health and disaster relief. She will be studying a Masters in Global Health, focusing on refugee and humanitarian health.    

Until the age of 16, Esther had ambitions to become a professional ballet dancer. She now dances for her own enjoyment and fitness, as well supporting local small-scale dance performances and national companies such as the Australian Ballet.

Tell us about your work?

"I am a medical doctor with a particular interest in humanitarian mental health. Prior to becoming a doctor, I worked with one of Australia’s biggest not-for-profits in community development, and since have been able to spend time working in healthcare settings in rural Australia, Vanuatu and South Africa. I have been a World Vision Youth Ambassador, where I got to speak to young people across Australia about the inspiring community development work I visited in Ethiopia."

What does the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship mean to you?

"The Scholarship means that alongside being supported to complete my studies, I will be learning and thinking about leadership from and with some of the most inspiring young people around Australia. Being a Scholar means that I have the opportunity to be inspired, learn from and work with incredible Australians."

How will your study program benefit society?

"Australia has an important role to play in the areas of refugee mental health and disaster relief. Unfortunately, mass migration due to conflict or natural disasters are a defining feature of our times, and Australia needs to be ready to respond to crises in the Australasian region and provide efficient, humane and sustainable support."

Joel Palte (Master of Public Policy)

Joel aspires to be a leader in the public service working to solve complex public policy problems. He is particularly passionate about migration and health policy.

After initially practising in corporate and migration law where he appeared in the Federal Courts and High Court of Australia, he now aspires to solve complex policy problems to ensure equal access to opportunities for all.

How will your study program benefit society?

"I’m passionate about experiencing all the diversity the world has to offer and using public policy to empower others to do the same. While I currently work at the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, I’ve had limited formal training in public policy. Studying a Master of Public Policy at the University of Sydney will increase my knowledge of the policy process, enabling me to more effectively influence the development of good public policy and assume a leadership role within the public service."

What do you like to do in your spare time?

"You can find me hiking, rock climbing, canyoning or writing music. Building on my passion for the outdoors, I’m also a founding member and leader of the Sydney group of the First Hike Project which aims to foster refugees’ connection to Australia through hiking in the Australian bush."          

What does the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship mean to you?

"The Scholarship provides the support for me to take time out from the workforce to build my knowledge and deep dive into thinking about the big picture problems that face Australia. It also provides the opportunity to collaborate with a powerful network of passionate Australians with diverse interests and skills, but similar values and a desire to make Australia a better place."

Applications for the 2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship are now open.

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