Seraphina Smith – AVCAT Scholar

Although I possess an innate drive to succeed, I am also motivated by a desire to excel for my sponsor who has supported me throughout my studies and its accompanying challenges. Whilst my peers worried about job security and housing during COVID-19, I was able to focus on my studies, secure in the knowledge that I am supported by AVCAT and RSL Queensland.

Seraphina with her stepfather Major Mark McKeon (Retd)

By Seraphina Smith

My stepfather, Major Mark McKeon (Retd), served 20 years in the Australian Army with overseas postings in Malaysia, the United Kingdom and operations in Somalia. He is an innovative leader and hard worker who motivates and mentors individuals wherever he goes. With this role model in mind, I have sought to emulate his work ethic, tenacity and approach to building relationships throughout my degree and into my career.

I am a final year Law (Honours) and Psychological Sciences student at Griffith University with a range of interests from criminal law, workplace law, wills and estates and international trade law.

My interest in international law and diplomacy stems from my high school involvement in Rotary’s Model United Nations Assembly, in which I competed at nationals in Canberra. I found this programme to be such an interesting way of involving students in international politics and diplomacy that I returned to the Assembly for my first two years at university to act as a judge. These interests have since been nurtured during my degree and inspired an interest in one day working for the United Nations as a legal officer.

More recently during my degree, I have been fortunate to be involved with the Griffith University Innocence Project, where academics and law students assist lawyers (working pro bono) to investigate and correct cases of wrongful conviction. I am also currently volunteering for the local community legal centre, assisting lawyers in the provision of pro bono legal advice to disadvantaged community members in a range of practice areas. During my position as a Peer Assisted Study Sessions Leader, I sought to develop my leadership and mentorship skills, following Mark’s example as I tutored first-year law classes in Criminal Procedure.

I cannot thank AVCAT and RSL Queensland enough, their support has been truly invaluable. Funnily enough, when my stepfather encouraged me to apply, I did not really believe that I would be successful. I, therefore, encourage everyone else to apply, no matter what you believe your chances or deservedness are.

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