BPW Hibiscus Coast Tertiary Student Award 2013 – Hayley Morrison’s speech

‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ – Isaac Newton

I was a nervous freshman exploring the Massey University Albany campus the first time I encountered this metaphor. Seeing it as a credible conversation starter, I mumbled to a stranger in my orientation group, ‘What do you suppose that means?’ I received a mere shoulder shrug. 

Fortunately, that did not matter. I have come to know the meaning on my own. My name is Hayley Grace Morrison. I’m a 20 year old woman of the Hibiscus Coast studying in my third year of a conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business Studies degree majoring in History and Economics. More importantly, I have been hoisted onto the shoulders of great professors, politicians and mentors. BPW has introduced me to just a few of those.

I used this scholarship in ways that any given recipient might have. The award facilitated my commute from the Hibiscus Coast, allowed me to acquire textbooks and stationery, and subsidised my tuition fees and library printing budget. I joked in my speech last year that it also helped towards those necessary coffees or five, but the figure is almost certainly more like 100.

However, while these uses are perhaps similar to other students, my overall purpose for the award was unique. I have long held the goal of becoming an academic. I aspired to eventually gain a Doctorate and a teaching qualification in order to enter into the tertiary education sector as a professor in History.

However, BPW is among other important influences that have helped me to realise and redefine this aspiration this year. I made the risky decision to change my business major from marketing to economics. This is something I contemplated every year but became almost too comfortable with avoiding making a decision. Inspired by the discussions I had, the people I met and support I received from BPW, I broadened my vision. I developed a giant sized dream.

I still aspire to enter New Zealand’s tertiary sector as a professor in History. But I also hope to work for government as a policy adviser. I would like to take on a role in non-governmental organisations like the United Nations, World Bank or Transparency International as a human rights officer. I am also keen to explore the world of publishing academic journals at Routledge with the Taylor & Francis Group. For this reason, my prospective post-graduate program looks like a Masters in International Development, a Diploma in Law, a teaching qualification, and eventually, a Doctorate.

Other things have remained the same. I continue to be involved in challenging yet rewarding activities. I am a passionate youth leader to a group of beautiful year 12 girls at my church, Northgate Baptist.  I still write for the university magazine Massive, I still advocate higher education for school leavers at various university events as a Student Ambassador, and I still invest my time tutoring fellow students.  I again made the Dean’s List for academic excellence and was a recipient of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences High Achiever Award. I also won two academic awards – the Longman Prize in History and the Cengage Prize in Marketing.

I undoubtedly can attribute part of this to BPW. Thank you for investing in me. I have enjoyed developing relationships with you, listening to life changing speakers like Judy McGregor, participating in fund raisers and eating the pecan pie we so often get for dessert here. A particular highlight for me was lighting the candle for the future of BPW Youth at our Candle Lighting Ceremony.

To this year’s winner, Hayley. Congratulations. To be selected as a scholarship winner is no small feat. It demonstrates not only your academic excellence, good character and bright future, but also your engaging personality. I said last year that I hoped to be part of a sisterhood with significance. I can guarantee you that this is something BPW provides. This scholarship is a significant means for you to continue with confidence on your long-term tertiary pathway, to grow intellectually and personally, to become more involved in advancing the inspiring BPW cause. Perhaps you may wish to take risks like changing your major if you see fit. I hope that as a scholarship recipient, a student and even just a young woman, you will use this opportunity to hoist others onto your own shoulders one day, both nationally and internationally. I will join you in that.

Hayley Morrison

Winner – Student Tertiary Award 2012

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