Rebecca Keeley awarded inaugural Ivan Shearer Scholarship

Ms Rebecca Keeley (St Mark’s 2012-14) has been awarded the inaugural Ivan Shearer Scholarship, which will help to enable her to study for a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Oxford.

The Ivan Shearer Scholarship is made possible by a generous bequest by the late Professor Ivan Shearer AM RFD (1938-2019), a distinguished international lawyer who was Dean of St Mark’s in 1968-71 and an Honorary Fellow of the College from 2005.

The Scholarship helps to support St Mark’s Collegians to study at the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge. It is awarded on the basis of excellence in intellect, character, leadership, and service, and also the need for financial support to study there.

Rebecca has also been awarded the Tim Fischer John Monash Scholarship – one of Australia’s most prestigious postgraduate scholarships – and a Saïd Foundation Scholarship from Oxford. Together with the Ivan Shearer Scholarship, these will cover the costs of her tuition fees and living costs for an academic year in Oxford.

Born and raised in Darwin, Rebecca is a graduate of Flinders University with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (2012-15), and also completed the Allied Health Rural Generalist Program at James Cook University (2017-18).

Working since 2016 as a speech pathologist, first in Darwin and now in country New South Wales, Rebecca is focused on promoting equitable access to healthcare for people in rural, regional, and remote communities, and to increasing the contribution of allied health professionals to the leadership of health systems.

She is currently working as a Senior Project Officer with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District to support those ageing in the community. Before this, she was Head of Department (Speech Pathology) at Griffith Base Hospital (2019-20).

Rebecca is the founder of Outback Allies, a peer support network for allied health professionals in regional and remote areas, and leads a senior citizens’ gentle exercise program in a small country town in NSW.

Rebecca’s commitment to creating opportunities for disadvantaged people to access healthcare in remote and rural communities is longstanding and has benefitted the lives of many. She sees her experiences working in allied health service provision with First Nations communities, and operating under the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide telehealth support to patients, as formative experiences that have deepened her interest in healthcare reform and systems change.

“Equitable access to healthcare in rural and remote Australia is a social impact problem”, she has said, “and through education and opportunities provided at Oxford, I hope to significantly impact the rural and remote public healthcare space in Australia on my return.”

In particular, Rebecca aims to use technology and app-based programs to improve the access that people in remote and rural areas have to allied health service delivery, and to support clinicians in providing these services.

Rebecca attributes the College’s announcement in 2020 of the creation of the Ivan Shearer Scholarship as prompting her interest in studying in Oxford. In turn, she hopes to help current and future St Mark’s students (including allied health students) to aim high in their study and career aspirations – including, as she aims to do, to bring skills from postgraduate study to help country communities.

We warmly congratulate Rebecca on being the inaugural Ivan Shearer Scholar, and wish her the very best for her time in Oxford and beyond.

A fuller profile of Rebecca is on the College website here as part of our series of profiles of St Mark’s women to mark the 40th anniversary of coeducation at the College.

Read more about the Ivan Shearer Scholarship, here.