Three Murdoch students have been named 2021 New Colombo Plan Scholars, recognising their academic performance, community leadership, and commitment to forging ties between Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.
The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is a signature initiative of the Australian Government, which aims to enhance knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
Kayla Rowe, Reyhana Malekloo and Wai Sin Wan are among the 125 Australian undergraduate students who will live and learn in the Indo-Pacific region in 2021, as COVID-19 restrictions allow.
These three bright young Murdoch University scholars are preparing to embark upon exciting development opportunities — immersing themselves in new cultures, learning languages, furthering their studies and gaining work experience.
Studying underwater ecosystems
Kayla Rowe, who is studying a Bachelor of Science (Conservation and Wildlife Biology, and Marine Science), will study Marine Science at the Maldives National University and undertake an internship with the Maldives Underwater Initiative.
With a keen interest in marine biodiversity, undertaking study in the Maldives – a country surrounded by coral reef – was a natural choice for Kayla.
“This will give me an incredible opportunity to deepen my knowledge of coral ecosystems as well as gain valuable hands-on experience with coral restoration,” Kayla said.
As a New Colombo Plan scholar, Kayla hopes to acquire new knowledge and skills to help make an international impact in the field of marine conservation.
On her return, Kayla will apply the knowledge gained in the Maldives to a local context.
“I hope to make as many valuable connections as possible whilst abroad and fully embrace every aspect of life in the Maldives so that I am able to return to Australia with a wider perspective of the opportunities that exist within the Indo-Pacific region.”
Kayla was named the New Colombo Plan Fellow for the Maldives, meaning she is the top-ranked scholar selected to undertake study in the country.
Pursuing international relations and diplomacy
Reyhana Malekloo will study Political Science at Seoul National University in South Korea.
The Bachelor of Criminology and Bachelor of Global Security student plans to undertake internships with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction or the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
It was the rich cultural values and historical experience of South Korea that attracted Reyhana to pursue study in the country.
“I am intrigued by political relations in the Republic of Korea, the nation’s conflict management with North Korea and its diplomatic partnerships between various nations,” Reyhana said.
“As a regional player, South Korea will impact future relations in the Indo-Pacific by altering the return on security, stability and prosperity in the region.”
“I intend to develop my knowledge and communication skills by studying the language and interning with the United Nations.”
Shifting towards decarbonised economies
Wai Sin Wan, a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student specialising in Instrumentation and Control Engineering, and Renewable Energy Engineering, will be studying Electronic and Sustainability Engineering at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.
Wai plans to undertake internships with Daesan Green Energy’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Plant and Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency.
For Wai, choosing South Korea as the destination for his New Colombo Plan experience was a no brainer.
With experience working for a consulting group that specialises in Asian market strategy and engagement, Wai has had vast exposure to the dynamic relationships within the region. He is keen to explore the need for Australia to diversify its trading pools, networks and research collaborations with other Asian partners.
“From my business experience, I saw Asia as a fast-changing region, and the dynamics in our relationships with the region are transforming day by day,” Wai said.
The experience in South Korea will allow him to witness the trends towards sustainability driving the region.
“I am excited to explore and understand how the society, culture and people of South Korea and the wider Asia region will be impacted by the current shift towards a decarbonised economy.
“Particularly, their implementation of hydrogen as a fuel to power their society and industrial energy needs.”