The most vulnerable people in society might not be the ones in plain sight. Scholarship recipient Monica Fenech is driven to help people who she feels the rest of society have given up on, by supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Monica completed her undergraduate degree in criminology and justice and is in the final trimester of her graduate diploma of psychological science. She’s building her skills to work with the prison population.
“Through my studies in criminology I realised that the offending population are the most vulnerable group of people that need help the most of all. Especially because a lot of them feel like society has given up on them and that they are not worth the time and effort that it takes to rehabilitate an individual.”
Alongside her studies, Monica volunteered with Shine for Kids, an organisation supporting children, young people and families with relatives in the criminal justice system. She found this experience informative and positive.
“I learned a lot about the culture and socio-political climate of Victoria’s prisons. I was able to build a unique experience interacting with offenders and their families and feel proud to have contributed to positive change in their lives.”
Seeing an opportunity to apply her knowledge and skills to help people in need has given Monica renewed purpose and determination to make a difference.
“I want to be the person who believes they can change. The more I receive discouraging discussion from others, the more I am encouraged to pursue this career path. That is exactly why these people need a person like me who does not disrespect them, make assumptions, and underestimate their intellectual abilities to do better.”
Receiving a Western Chances scholarship helped Monica to further her studies. Monica received her first Western Chances scholarship when she was in Year 12 in 2014 when she was nominated for academic talent in Psychology, Music, Politics and Legal Studies along with talent in singing and playing guitar. . Monica was successful in having her scholarship renewed in 2015, 2016, 2017 and again in 2018 and has received funding for MYKI, internet and textbooks.
She says, “I am able to afford the expensive textbooks and public transport fees that accompany tertiary education. As a result, I feel less stress and pressure regarding my ability to sustain independence.”
Giving herself the best start to her career, Monica has gained experience and developed her communication skills working as a field interviewer in social and market research.
“My big dream for the future is to become a forensic psychologist and contribute to positive socio-political change to society. I hope to achieve this by moving to Liverpool in the United Kingdom in early 2019 to continue my postgraduate studies there by completing a master’s in forensic psychology.”
We wish Monica all the best in pursuing her study goals for a rewarding career.
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