Heather Cork graduates and reflects on her Summer Research Scholarship

Heather Cork
Heather Cork completed a Summer Research Scholarship at the ANU College of Law, exploring whistle-blowing in the private sector.

Heather believes that if students are aiming for a career in academia, “the Summer Research Scholarship is a great opportunity to get an authentic sense of what it would be like to be an academic.”

Heather Cork graduated with an LLB (Hons)/BA last week. Heather was awarded a Summer Research Scholarship before beginning her Honours semester at the ANU College of Law. Heather worked with Associate Professor Katherine Hall, who is a corporate law expert. Together they explored whistle-blowing in the private sector.

Whistle-blowing has historically focused on the public sector. Dr A. J Brown, from Griffith University, describes the public sector legislation as “a tapestry … nobody’s really got a handle on what best practice would look like.”

Heather was a bright student who had done very well and so Kath Hall encouraged her to apply for the Summer Research Scholarship. Kath Hall had received an ARC grant to research the topic of whistle-blowing in the private sector. When Heather, in an excellent, very competitive field, was awarded a Scholarship, she and Kath conducted interviews with many whistle-blowers.

They incorporated the stories into their research. Kath said that hearing the stories of the whistle-blowers really made the story and had a powerful impact. Now, although they are not formally advising the Government on the topic, their research is influencing government policy.

Kath observed that Heather tackled the process of research very thoroughly and enjoyed it. The experience inspired her and Kath said that she was great to work with. “The really wonderful thing is that this research has different outcomes – working with Heather and co-writing an article on the topic plus directly feeding into government policy.”

Heather believes that if students are aiming for a career in academia, “the Summer Research Scholarship is a great opportunity to get an authentic sense of what it would be like to be an academic.” 

Heather achieved her goal of experiencing supervised research over an extended period of time as well as producing an academic paper. Another experience reflects the unforeseen benefits of attaining a Summer Research Scholarship.

“One of the most valuable experiences was going to the Wednesday morning teas,” said Heather. “It was a great opportunity to get to know the lecturers on a deeper level and relate to them on a more equal footing than before.”

Heather gained employment as a graduate lawyer in the Department of Employment after her studies.

The ANU College of Law holds an annual Summer Research Scholarship for eight weeks. Successful applicants gain the opportunity to pursue a short research project, supervised by an expert academic. While applications open on 1 August and close on 31 August, the experiences of a scholar such as Heather Cork during 2015 and 2016 could be illuminating for those who like to plan ahead and work towards applying for a Summer Research Scholarship in 2017.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team