Mavis Brown Scholarship
Mavis Haydon was an inspiring 1930s maverick whose love for education now provides a pathway for outstanding Flinders University students to excel, thanks to a scholarship named in her honour.
Having run away from home at 17, hitchhiking across Australia and travelling the world, Mavis Haydon (nee Brown) boldly shunned the conventional path for young women of the 1930s.
However, she always regretted not having an opportunity to study at university and was acutely aware of the limited educational opportunities available to many of her generation.
‘She always valued education, but she was never given the opportunity,’ says Mavis’ niece, Trudyanne Brown. ‘It never even crossed her parents’ minds that she would have wanted to go to university.’
Now, with a tightening economy, the opportunity to attend university is beyond the financial means of many talented young people.
Mavis, who lived in Adelaide until her death in July 2015, aged 92, was determined to address this inequity and instructed her estate to set up the $4 million Mavis Brown Charitable Trust to support students facing financial difficulties.
‘I am truly overwhelmed by the support the Mavis Brown Scholarship has provided to me,’ says Engineering student Angello De Ionno.
Launched in 2020, the Mavis Brown Scholarship currently supports three students at Flinders University with an annual scholarship of $5,000 for up to six years.
With as much as $30,000 of support across their degree, this marks the largest scholarship available at the University.
The three inaugural scholarship recipients had each achieved notable academic performance, but were struggling to make ends meet.
Angello De Ionno, who was dux of Murray Bridge High School, is pursuing the challenging double task of studying Honours for a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and a Master of Engineering (Biomedical).
‘Inspired by my father’s practicality and ability to solve problems one at a time without falter, I discovered engineering,’ says Angello.
‘Through two specialisations I decided to combine a broad knowledge of this fascinating subject with the niche field of biomedical engineering.’
‘I spent nearly three hours each day driving to the campus. It was very draining, and it even left me questioning whether it was worth doing the extra work to continue my high standard of achievement and success.’
The Adventures of Mavis Haydon.
Financial support provided by the Mavis Brown Scholarship has enabled Angello to rent accommodation closer to Flinders, so that he can spend more time on his studies instead of travel.
‘The scholarship has bolstered my confidence and self-belief. I had been questioning my choices and whether I had the ability to finish my double degree, however receiving this scholarship extinguished those negative thoughts. I am truly overwhelmed by the support the Mavis Brown Scholarship has provided to me and other students who are struggling.’
A Mavis Brown Scholarship has also been awarded to law student Allison Mason, who has a passion for social justice issues. Having grown up in Waikerie, Allison is now studying a Bachelor of Law and Legal Studies, and a Bachelor of International Relations and Political Science at Flinders University. She hopes to be able to make a real change on the global stage.
Allison had difficulty focusing on study due to struggles with physical health issues, which have also impacted her part-time work possibilities. She says the scholarship has relieved a large amount of her financial pressures and anxiety.
‘The Mavis Brown Scholarship has given me the gift of choice. I no longer have to choose work over university, nor work over my health,’ says Allison. ‘It is an incredible gift that will impact my life – not just for the next four years, but for my entire life.’
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