From Scratch to Success

Kelly Peihopa

AVCAT scholarship recipient Kelly Peihopa found herself starting from scratch, again, after the end of her marriage. Determined to “become educated, so I can provide a good future for myself and my four children,” Kelly commenced a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and History at the University of Newcastle in 2012, choosing to study what she had always loved, the arts, and knowing that by working hard, opportunities would open for her future.

Kelly’s father, Philip Smith, is a Vietnam Veteran and is one of Kelly’s best supporters, telling everyone he meets about Kelly and her achievements. Philip encouraged Kelly to apply for the AVCAT scholarship, fully believing she would be successful and is very proud of her connection to AVCAT.

Kelly loves to “learn and study” and to “grow her brain”. As an undergraduate, she also worked as a research assistant in her faculty, for an international research network specialising in Early Modern women’s writing. In 2016, Kelly graduated with a BA with distinction and in 2017, she completed her honours year, earning first-class honours in English. She continues to work as a research assistant in her faculty part-time, has completed several academic internships and is working towards an academic career. Gaining a higher education has inspired Kelly, who in turn “would like to inspire other women and mothers to become educated and rise from the circumstances they may find themselves in,” as she herself has strived to do, “knowing that education can change the future of an individual or a family.”

In addition to her outstanding academic work, responsibilities outside of university, and working part-time in research, Kelly will soon have a nonfiction essay published in the prestigious Australian Literary Journal Meanjin. A great accomplishment for an undergraduate student which the faculty at the University of Newcastle are understandably excited about. Kelly intends on extending her creative nonfiction writing and is continuously working on articles to publish, with a focus on women’s issues and domestic violence, a cause Kelly is an advocate for.

AVCAT is delighted to announce Kelly has been accepted in the first round of the prestigious Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) PhD Scholarships, beginning in 2018. Kelly will be researching Early Modern Women’s Prison Poetry. The whole team at AVCAT wishes her every success for her continuing academic and personal success.