Deakin University graduate Kirrily Schwarz has an opportunity journalism students only dream about after winning the 2014 Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship.
Kirrily is heading to Sydney in August to undertake a 12 week internship with the Nine Network and Walkley Foundation, and study a video production course with the Australian Film Television and Radio School.
"I love talking to people, and I enjoy TV because I can help people tell their own stories rather than telling stories for them," Kirrily said.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity."
She studied a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) double degree at Deakin's Burwood campus, moving to Melbourne from the western Victorian town of Nhill.
"I came to Deakin because the courses are particularly flexible and accommodating, and there are a wealth of extracurricular opportunities available for students willing to take them," she said.
While studying at Deakin, Kirrily edited the student magazine 'Crossfire', studied abroad in Indonesia and the United States, received a Global Citizenship Award, and was selected for the May and Romeo Schiavon Scholarship encouraging rural and regional journalism.
Kirrily's winning submission included a video piece and print article exploring the concept of 'national interest' in relation to foreign land investment and the future of farming.
It was produced in response to American agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland's failed bid to buy GrainCorp late last year.
Judge Darren Wick (Director of News and Current Affairs, Nine Network) lauded Kirrily for her "intelligence and a curiosity that impels her to ask questions beyond the obvious".
"She's not satisfied with knowing what happened," Mr Wick said.
"She needs to find out why something happened, is it still happening and what forces are at play that could determine whether it happens again. She is a natural investigator."
Deakin University Journalism lecturer, Dr Colleen Murrell, predicted Kirrily would have an exciting career ahead of her.
"Kirrily was a joy to teach," she said.
"She is extremely bright and capable and has a very positive attitude. She particularly loved the challenge of reporting and editing her own TV current affairs piece."
Professor Matthew Allen, Head of the School of Communication and Creative Arts, said that the success of students like Kirrily, and the quality of the academics who teach them, was the reason why Deakin is launching a specialist Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) degree in 2015.
"I am very happy to expand our journalism offering," he said.
"It will allow students an opportunity to take more advanced production and critical studies units and be even more prepared for the challenges of a career in journalism"
Kirrily's award winning article