By Caitlin Gauci
At the 2013 AVCAT Scholarship awards ceremony in Brisbane, I accepted my scholarship with the deepest gratitude and a little confusion. I had been awarded the TLC scholarship but had no idea what the acronym was supposed to represent. I spent the ceremony frantically trying to figure out which of my father’s deployments could vaguely be related to ‘TLC’. When at the end of the ceremony I asked an AVCAT staff member what my scholarship stood for, she smiled back at me and replied gently, ‘it’s the Tender, Loving Care scholarship’.
That’s exactly what my AVCAT scholarship provided to me – tender, loving care. It enabled me to pursue dreams I didn’t know were possible and to complete my tertiary studies. With the support of my scholarship, I was the first person ever in my family to graduate with an honours degree.
My parents both spent their careers in public service and I believe strongly in working hard to benefit the lives of all Australians. To understand who we are as a nation, it is important to acknowledge the duty and sacrifice of those who served, and are serving, our country. I hope to use my public service career to contribute positively to Australian society and give back to my country.
Throughout my degree, the financial support of my AVCAT scholarship allowed me to partake in opportunities that would not have otherwise been possible. This included undertaking a summer school program at Cambridge University, establishing a social enterprise in rural India, going on exchange to Edinburgh University and interning with the UN Development Program in the Maldives. These experiences affirmed my determination to give back to my community; locally, domestically and internationally.
Caitlin Gauci is a National Security and International Policy adviser at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Caitlin says ‘through my work, I hope to contribute positively to the lives of all Australians and to honour the legacy of all those who have sacrificed and served in the name of the Australian people’.
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