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A life changing scholarship for design graduate


Jesca graduated from a Bachelor of Design (Honours) at UNSW at the end of 2017. She was a recipient of the President and Vice-Chancellor’s Equity Scholarship.

Growing up on a farm in a small country town, Jesca always assumed she’d be a primary school teacher. While she’d enjoyed studying art in high school, a career in art and design had never crossed her mind.

“I had no idea of the depth and breadth of careers that were out there,” she says.

It wasn’t until a chance encounter while she was working at Coles during her gap year that things changed.

“I was talking with a customer that I was serving, and they asked me about my university plans. I told them I thought I’d do teaching however I wasn’t set on that career path. She asked me what I enjoyed doing, and I mentioned my passions in creative arts. She told me one of her family members is a graphic designer, and said he also came from a creative background. That was the light bulb moment for me.”

She began researching degrees and was drawn to the broad skillset offered by UNSW’s Bachelor of Design. She applied and was accepted to study the course in Sydney.

“Art, design, museums, studios, galleries … aren't widely accessible where I’m from. I didn’t have any family members in these careers, so I decided to move my life to Sydney and jump into design on my own.”

With the family farm facing drought, Jesca’s family wasn’t in a position to support her move to Sydney. As a rural student, she was eligible to apply for the President Vice-Chancellor’s Equity Scholarship, which provides $5,000 financial support per year, for the duration of her degree.

Her scholarship application was successful. Having already taken a year off after high school to work and save, Jesca was able to use the scholarship to help cover her living costs in Sydney.

“The scholarship truly eased the burden of my accommodation fees. While I still worked part-time during semester breaks, I wasn’t relying on that income to live. It relieved a lot of financial and emotional pressure, and I was able to put everything I had into my degree.”

Jesca says the scholarship also helped her manage the stress of moving from her hometown to Sydney.

“Moving was really difficult. I'd gone from being in an area I'd known my entire life to a city that’s so metropolitan. Part of what the scholarship meant for me is it helped ease that anxiety of moving, because my biggest priority was settling in, not finding a way to pay rent.”

After graduating with honours, Jesca completed an internship at the Ministry of Sound before securing full-time work at a design agency. Today, she works as a midweight designer at Sydney agency Toben.

Jesca says studying at UNSW helped prepare her for a diverse design career, and her scholarship allowed her to get the most out of her degree.

“The scholarship meant that I could focus entirely on my studies during my time at UNSW. I’m extremely grateful.”