Rhodes Scholarship for Kate Maddern

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We are delighted to share the news that Kate Maddern, a 2015 Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation (MSRF now known as Youthrive Victoria) scholarship recipient has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for 2021. 

A truly deserving recipient, Kate is planning to build on her Bachelor of Science Advanced-Global Challenges (Honours) degree from Monash University by pursuing further study at Oxford University in politics, philosophy and economics.


Clear about her goals, Kate plans to contribute to achieving highly sustainable and productive farms which will in turn lead to thriving rural communities and stronger educational opportunities. With between 20-50% of rural jobs being related to agricultural production there is no doubt that thriving agriculture will lift rural communities. Kate ‘s goal is to see ‘thriving rural communities, with excellent education and healthcare and people employed in a career that they love.’  The Rhodes Scholarship gives Kate the opportunity to learn more about how these goals can be achieved


Receiving a three-year MSRF/Youthrive scholarship at the end of year 12 helped Kate get to university and attend the course of her choice (which did not offer a deferral option). To fund university, many young rural people take a gap year to earn money and become eligible for Student Income Support. As Kate was not able to take a gap year the scholarship allowed her to pursue university and reduced the financial pressure to find additional work, aiding her ability to achieve high results.


“The Youthrive Victoria community has been incredibly supportive and I have made so many good friends. I’ve met people with similar life experiences and built many connections. I would like to thank the scholarship donors and Youthrive/MSRF for the mentoring and leadership support and the strong network it provided.” In turn, Kate has been a mentor on many occasions and an enthusiastic supporter of scholarship and alumni activities.


Kate has long been interested in rural communities and the lives people live in the bush. Early on after receiving her scholarship Kate raised a question about aspirations and expectations of rural students. This question was the catalyst for our first alumni developed initiative. In late 2016, after development, research and hours of creative planning, from a team of over 50 alumni and staff, Dream Seeds® was presented for the first time. This is our workshop for Year 6 students that explores building aspiration, resilience and connections in young rural people. dreamseeds.org.au. Dream Seeds® has now been presented to over 47 schools and 1146 students and it was the winner of the Southwest TAFE & Deakin University Regional Achiever Award at the annual Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.


As a Rhodes Scholar and a young female working in agriculture Kate is an inspiring role model. We know she will make a significant contribution to rural Australia. Congratulations Kate!

Kate Maddern and Youthrive Victoria Director Duncan Malcolm
2015 Youthrive Victoria (MSRF) scholars
Kate Maddern and friends bush walking