Psychology graduate wins 2017 Victorian Rhodes Scholarship

University of Melbourne student Rebecca Duke has been awarded the 2017 Victorian Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.

Rebecca Duke Rebecca Duke, with Governor the Hon Linda Dessau and Judge Anthony Howard.

Her selection was announced on 27 October by the Governor of Victoria, The Honourable Linda Dessau AM.

Ms Duke completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) majoring in Psychology with First Class Honours and also graduated with a Diploma in Languages.  She is also a former exchange student at Durham University in the UK.

Bendigo-born Ms Duke is an accomplished ballet dancer and the recipient of several university scholarships and academic awards. She is a regular volunteer at the Royal Children’s Hospital and also volunteers as a crisis counsellor.

Ms Duke, who lived at the University’s Janet Clarke Hall and Ormond College during her studies, said she was thrilled to receive the prestigious scholarship and plans to undertake an MSc in the Social Science of the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute. 

At Oxford, she plans to research the way internet-based technologies affect the educational engagement of young people with the aim of developing programs that address emerging challenges.  

“My studies in psychology and philosophy have taught me the value of interdisciplinary approaches to education and research.

“My volunteer experience in early intervention at the Royal Children’s Hospital and my current work as a crisis counsellor have taught me the importance of stepping outside my own experience and cultivating awareness of the systemic obstacles many face in achieving their educational potential.”

Congratulating Ms Duke on her achievement, Professor Carolyn Evans, Honorary Secretary of the Victorian Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee, said: 

“Rebecca is a very impressive young woman who was headed for an international career in ballet before deciding to take a more academic route.

“Her studies at Oxford will allow her to examine both the opportunities and perils for the Internet in engaging young people, particularly in education.

“This is a pressing issue and Rebecca brings the intellectual and personal skills to contribute new insights that will assist us in supporting young people in their engagement with the online world.”

For more on the Rhodes Trust, Scholarships and Notable Scholars visit:

This article first appeared in the Melbourne Newsroom on 27 October 2016. View the original article.