Meet Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Scholarship winner Gabriella Willson

Gabriella Willson Griffith Business School
Gabriella Willson.

Gabriella Willson hadn’t applied for scholarships previously because she didn’t think she had what it took to win. Now she’s one of the proud recipients of the Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Scholarship for Griffith University. 

“I was so blown away and in disbelief when I found out I’d won. Just so grateful,” she says. “I honestly never thought I would have any chance of winning a scholarship and now a large portion of my degree fees are covered; it’s amazing!” 

Griffith Business School is proud of its connection to industry and government and this scholarship no exception. The partnership between Griffith Business School and the Brisbane City Council Office of the Lord Mayor sees the scholarship recipients presented a substantial cash prize to go towards their study fees, the opportunity to be mentored by members of the Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Roundtable, as well as other support on offer. 

The Commerce student majoring in Financial Planning qualified for the Multicultural Scholarship because of her mother’s Filipino background. “My mother was born in the Philippines and then moved here when she was very young. She’s one of eight children and her parents are divorced and little by little my grandmother, who is amazing and an incredibly strong woman, flew the children over from the Philippines and they became citizens here.” But far from having support just around the corner, Gabriella says her family all live interstate, which has made studying during COVID-19 and hard border closures very difficult.

“Since my family aren’t close by, it’s been tough. My husband and I have very few family members accessible to us which is super frustrating.” She says the scholarship win will give her some much needed freedom in what has been an incredibly stressful year. “We work to pay for our life here, and I’ve been trying to concentrate on uni, trying not to be too distracted by missing my family and feeling, you know, very isolated from the world,” she explains. “The scholarship win gives me freedom from some of that. It’s such a blessing because it means our lifestyle will be a little more liberal instead of having to be super tight when it comes to spending. I can focus on my study and what I am working towards.” 

In addition to the financial aspect of the prize, Gabriella hopes that potential employers will see the win as an extension of her determination. “I hope people see it as a credit to my desire to work hard and to perform to the best of my ability and to be a high achiever. I’m hoping that it will make my credentials my resume stand out from what is going to be a large pool of graduates when we finish.” 

She encourages other students who may not think they are worthy of a scholarship to just get out there and apply. 

“Griffith is really cool because they have this one scholarship application process where you send in the one application and it can apply to all the different scholarships that you could potentially receive. The scholarships office goes through and checks which ones you’re eligible for,” she says.  

“I would love to say to other students out there, don’t be afraid to present your strengths and to show them and to explain what you know you’re good at. And if you’ve worked really hard to get to where you are to get good grades to get a good solid job. Awesome. Tell them that because I guess that’s what’s going to make you stand out. And that’s when they want to invest in you.”