Griffith Law School graduate, Lauren Dancer, has been awarded an Australia-at-Large Rhodes Scholarship for 2012, the first Griffith student to receive the prestigious prize.
Through her scholarship, Lauren (pictured) will study a Bachelor of Civil Law at the world-renowned University of Oxford, focusing on international human rights.
Dean of Griffith Law School, Professor William MacNeil said he is delighted by Lauren’s success, and it is well deserved.
“Lauren is an outstanding student and Griffith Law School is very proud of her extraordinary achievement in winning one of three Australia-at-Large Rhodes scholarships,” Professor MacNeil said.
“While Lauren is not the first GLS student to study at Oxford, she is certainly our first Rhodes scholar for the Law School and the university,” he said.
The Bachelor of Civil Law is just the start. Lauren also hopes to be able to undertake a Master of Philosophy at Oxford; a total of two one-year programs which she will begin in October 2012.
“I intend to explore how the rights of national, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities and those of Indigenous peoples can be better protected and promoted through international human rights law,” Lauren said.
Each year, Rhodes Scholarships enable nine outstanding Australian students to study at Oxford. A scholarship is awarded in each of the States (NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, SA and TAS) and a further three are offered for Australia-at-Large.
After impressing the Queensland Rhodes Scholar Selection Committee, Lauren was recommended for one of the Australia-at-Large Scholarships.
Professor MacNeil said he is not surprised Lauren has been recognised in this way.
“From the moment Lauren crossed the threshold of the law school, she impressed all of us with her intellectual curiosity, analytic rigour and imaginative creativity,” Professor MacNeil said.
“When combined with her advocacy skills as a champion debater, this combination set her apart from the merely ‘good’ law student, endowing her with a very real ‘star’ quality,” he said.
Lauren first became interested in law while still in high school.
“I love the power of the law to shape social debate and interest around complex issues,” Lauren said.
Through her studies at Oxford, Lauren hopes to enhance her understanding of the role international law and human rights principles can play in resolving conflict and improving inter-cultural relations.
“Studying at Oxford will also provide me with the opportunity to live and work with scholars from all over the world,” she said.
Fluent in German, Lauren already loves teaching and working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
“At university I worked as a language connections tutor with Student Services to assist students, who have low proficiency in English, with their studies,” Lauren said.
“I also worked as a tutor for Indigenous students with Griffith University’s Gumurrii Student Support Unit, which aims to increase the retention of Indigenous students at university,” she said.
Lauren’s commitment to the support and inclusion of others stems from her own experience with disability.
“I have vision and hearing impairments, and whilst growing up, I well understood the feeling of being ‘different’ and needing to overcome obstacles to succeed,” Lauren said.
“Whilst my impairments have at times made learning difficult, they have also taught me the value of determination and empathy,” she said.