The Margaret Abernethy Scholarship for Leadership in Community Engagement was established by the Melbourne Foundation for Business and Economics in honour of Professor Margaret Abernethy, former Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics.
For Faculty of Business and Economics student Celeste Guzzo, helping others is second nature. Growing up, she remembers her parents giving their time happily – often providing food and clothing – to assist disadvantaged members of the community. As a teenager, Celeste began to join her parents and still helps out today.
“Food is a massive thing in Italian culture. It’s a way of bringing people together – and that is something that has filtered through to all the other things I do in my life. Today I still help my parents with some of the charities they’re involved with. For example, each week we cook curries and take them down to the refugees at the Broadmeadows detention centre.”
Celeste is also involved in many other community service projects, which she pursues alongside her studies.
“I keep pretty busy,” she said. “I support the AHED program for Indigenous communities in Arnhem Land. At University I’m a mentor for female international students through a program called Banking on Women, as well as other things.”
Receiving the Margaret Abernethy scholarship was a complete surprise.
“I was stunned when I got shortlisted for the scholarship. They said they’d received a lot of applications, so I was really happy that I’d even made it that far!
“Then I got a call about half an hour after my interview. I was in the library at the time and I’m pretty sure I disturbed a lot of people with my reaction. I was so surprised! I called my parents and told them. They were very proud of me.
“Margaret Abernethy told me that she liked my grassroots approach to community engagement. We still keep in touch. She takes time out of her day to give me advice.”
The scholarship will help Celeste to continue her work with Indigenous communities. She aims to travel to Arnhem Land later this year to spend time on the ground.