After leaving Argentina in the 70s to escape the violent military junta, Silvia Tejedor came to RMIT to study electronics – as one of two women in the class. Now she is leaving a bequest to support future generations of women studying science.
Silvia arrived in Australia from Argentina in 1975, and while she found learning English at school challenging, she was ahead of the class in mathematics and science. "Mathematics, science and physics was always my passion," she says, which drove her to study electronics.
After graduating, Silvia got a job with the Department of Defence, where she still works as a Technical Officer in Electronics. Silvia had long wanted to do something to encourage more women to follow a career in engineering and science. She read about another donor who created a scholarship in the RMIT Connect email, and decided to create a scholarship of her own, by leaving a bequest in her will.
Like Silvia, many donors choose to leave a gift to RMIT in their will, called a bequest. Bequests can fund scholarships, prizes, support research or campus development, depending on the wishes of the donor.
"Now I'm at a stage of my life where I'd like to contribute something towards RMIT, particularly to encourage girls to do electronics, science or engineering," says Silvia. "At the moment I don't have the amount of money on hand to give to a scholarship, but I know when I die there will be some money which my husband and my children will inherit. So I made a bequest in my will to put aside a little of that money to create a scholarship."
The scholarship is Silvia's way of giving back to RMIT and to continue her legacy. "I did come from a poor background, and I made a better life thanks to the facilities, education and people here in Australia. So I want to give back. I think it's very important that we all do that," she says.
"I hope my passion for education lives on. I hope whoever receives the scholarship or prize will then do the same for someone else too."