UNIVERSITY of NSW law student and cochlear implant recipient Calvin Shaw has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Graeme Clark Scholarship.
Shaw is in his final year of studies at UNSW and in February 2012 will begin working as a graduate lawyer with Freehills in Sydney. He also aspires to undertake a Masters of Law.
“Law, my passion, is dialogue-heavy in teaching and practice. The cochlear implant enables me to study law and pursue greater opportunities in higher education. It has significantly increased my overall quality of life in everything I do.”
Named after scientist and inventor of the cochlear implant, Professor Graeme Clark, the scholarship program was established in 2002 to provide financial assistance to cochlear implant and bone conduction implant recipients to help them excel academically. Shaw was awarded the tightly contested scholarship based on his outstanding academic achievements and his demonstrated leadership qualities.
For Shaw, who first received a cochlear implant when he was two years of age (at the time the earliest age of implantation), winning the Graeme Clark Scholarship “will enable me to focus on completing my studies in law, reach out to other cochlear implantees.”
Shaw was diagnosed with profound deafness at nine months of age, caused by Meningococcal Meningitis. He said having a cochlear implant has changed his life.
“I am able to communicate effectively with my peers, teachers and friends."
Professor Graeme Clark said: “Calvin’s commitment to his studies, extracurricular activities, community involvement and leadership skills impressed the committee very much this year. We believe he has a very bright future and wish him well with his studies in law. I’m sure that he will make a wonderful role model for other implant students and also, generally, those studying law.”
“I plan to lead a rich and fulfilling career, balancing corporate work with participation in programs that reach out to homeless and disadvantaged youths,” Shaw said.
Ultimately Calvin’s goals are to move into a teaching role.
"I believe in the value of knowledge transmission, as well as equipping future generations with an idea of not only what the law is, but what the law can be.
“In a way, the scholarship will be testimony to my commitment to use teaching to improve the lives of others,” he said.
“Teaching is a great passion of mine because I love helping people to try to understand law. I like to make a difference in the lives of people disadvantaged by many factors and give them the tools to grow out of their disadvantage.
“The indigenous students I teach often inspire me with their work ethic, leading me to take social justice leadership on initiatives such as reforming the University of New South Wales Law Journal, on whose Executive Board I sit, to address certain social inequities.”
Shaw, who last year was an exchange student at the Boston College of Law, currently teaches law courses to indigenous law and pre-law students at the UNSW under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme, as well as tutoring undergraduate first-year law students.