Melinda Thomas – AVCAT Scholar

Melinda standing against a balcony railing with a European city in the background

My father served as an engineer in the Australian Army for over a decade, and sadly later lost his life due to an illness developed over the course of his service overseas in Iraq. My siblings and I were raised by our brave mother. From a very young age I knew that I wanted to work hard to achieve things my father never got the chance to. I will always look up to my dad, he was a very wise and kind man. I hope to do him proud.

I have always been interested in maths and problem solving, and I thoroughly enjoyed economics at high school, so I chose to continue studying it at university. Soon after I was accepted into a Bachelor of Economics at Sydney University, I happened to find my dad’s old army papers in our garage. I discovered that he had also studied an economics degree while on placement with the army in Singapore. I never knew – it was a very special discovery.

I am currently in the fourth and final year of my degree, and I have also spent the last couple of years working part-time as a research analyst at an economic policy think tank. This internship has developed my skills, provided me with valuable industry experience but most notably it has allowed me to grow confidence in my abilities.

I have lived out of home and independently for most of my tertiary studies, as it was more conducive to a positive study environment. Living out of home, as well as obtaining a distinction average last year, was largely made possible due to the assistance that I received from AVCAT and my Australian War Widows NSW Scholarship.

This month I was fortunate enough to receive a graduate job offer for next year as a management consultant at global consulting firm, Kearney. I look forward to finishing off my undergraduate studies and beginning a challenging but exciting chapter next year.

I hope to develop my problem-solving skills in the private sector to later work in development economics, a field which focuses on poverty solutions for developing countries. I believe using economics to find social-maximising outcomes for people in poverty is where my passion truly lies.

Melinda was awarded the Australian War Widows NSW Scholarship in 2020.

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