Law grad wins Rhodes Scholarship

Described by his teachers as having one of the best legal minds of his generation, UNSW Arts/Law graduate Kunal Sharma is heading to Oxford University after winning one of the world’s most coveted scholarships.

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Photo: Ben Rushton/Fairfaxphotos

The state’s newest Rhodes scholar, Arts/Law graduate Kunal Sharma, will use the prestigious prize to critically analyse the structures of private property, taxation and social welfare.

“I was very pleased to win the Rhodes but it was quite unexpected. It opens up a lot of new opportunities."

Kunal will commence his studies at Oxford University next year, undertaking a Bachelor of Civil Law and a Master of Public Policy.

Established in 1903, the Rhodes is the oldest and most prestigious international graduate scholarship program in the world. A class of 83 outstanding all-round scholars is selected each year to study at Oxford.

A class of 83 Scholars is selected each yearOxford. Described by his teachers as having one of the best legal minds they have come across for years, Kunal studied at UNSW on a Law Scientia Scholarship and graduated earlier this year with first class honours. He is currently working as a Graduate Lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Described by his teachers as having one of the best legal minds they have come across for years, Kunal studied at UNSW on a Law Scientia Scholarship and graduated earlier this year with first class honours. He is currently working as a Graduate Lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Dean of Law Professor David Dixon describes Kunal as “an extraordinarily impressive young man”.

At 12 years old, Kunal migrated with his family to Australia from India. At aged 13 and then again at 20, he was diagnosed with cancer, forcing the amputation of his right leg.

During his degree he undertook internships with the Aboriginal Legal Service, the NSW Attorney-General’s Department, volunteered with disability organisations, was on the editorial board of the UNSW Law Journal and worked as a research assistant in the Law Faculty.

“A lot of people seem to think that elite programs [such as the Rhodes Scholarship] are designed around a particular type of person,” Kunal says.

“Although my experiences were different, it didn’t mean I shouldn’t give it a shot,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The state runner-up in the Rhodes is also from UNSW. Emily Rumble graduated with First Class Honours in both History and Law and the University Medal in History. Currently Associate to Justice Annabelle Bennett in the Federal Court of Australia, Emily is in contention for the Australia-at-Large Rhodes scholarship to be announced in December.

Media contact: Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 3249 / d.knight@unsw.edu.au

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Photo: Ben Rushton/Fairfaxphotos