Scholarships’ lasting value: sometimes it IS rocket science

In 2006, the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Scholarship recipient Dr Justin Hardi graduated with a double degree in science and aerospace engineering from the University of Adelaide.

Today, Justin leads the Combustion Dynamics Group at the Institute of Space Propulsion of Germany’s national aeronautics and space research centre.

“It’s my dream job,” Justin enthuses, “and it was largely the scholarship that got me here.”

“Receiving the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Scholarship had given me a huge confidence boost. I’ve no doubt it helped me complete my PhD successfully.”

“Research institutes sometimes have difficulty funding a PhD position for a new project, even if they have an applicant well suited to the project,” he says. “So I think being able to show the combined support of the scholarship and the Graduate Award really helped my candidacy.”

Last year Justin joined three fellow alumni, including astronaut Dr Andy Thomas, to speak in Adelaide at a University-run public lecture as part of the 68th International Astronautical Congress. Justin also embraces opportunities to give back to the education sector by helping other aspiring aeronautical engineers on their path.

“I’ve supervised more than 30 students since moving to Germany,” he explains, “and two were actually University of Adelaide students following the same path I took—supported by scholarships and travel funding from the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith fund.”

We all know it’s a small world, of course. But Justin’s story certainly reminds us what wonderful things can happen when we help our next generation make their way in it.


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