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2020 scholarship recipients

In 2020 Rural Bank awarded 19 scholarships to students across Australia.

Meet our 2020 scholarship recipients

A substantial boost to aid the transition to tertiary study has been provided to 19 well-deserving regional and rural students through Rural Bank’s annual Scholarship Program.

Students are facing unprecedented challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including undertaking online learning and loss of casual work. The scholarship program provides students with financial support to help them thrive in their chosen field of study, at institutions across Australia.

This year’s recipients were selected from 124 applications from regional and rural communities around Australia. A number of scholarship recipients are from families and communities that have been affected by the devastation caused by drought and the bushfire crisis.

Anna Robinson
Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Charles Sturt University

Anna grew up on a fruit and vegetable farm in the Kimberley region of Western Australia where she developed interests in the livestock sector and agricultural sustainability.

Working as a farm hand on a remote cattle station inspired Anna to enrol in a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University, with the aim of improving and making the most out of agricultural land and resources.

With several interests including animal welfare, agricultural sustainability and environmental change and disaster management, Anna has plenty of choices with regard to which career path she will follow. Whatever direction she chooses, she aims to help support producers to achieve their maximum potential with the least negative environmental impact.

Baden Gray 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Baden Grey
Bachelor of Business (Agriculture), Marcus Oldham

For as long as he can remember, Baden has helped his dad out on the family’s cropping farm in Victoria, learning to drive the tractor to help with ploughing and harvesting as soon as he could.

Baden understands of the importance of knowing how to run a farm as a business and as a result is undertaking a Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) at Marcus Oldham. He plans to return home to the family farm to help manage and eventually take ownership of the farm, becoming the fifth generation to do so.

With the aim of applying modern and sustainable practices to the family farm, Baden also intends to apply his business knowledge to grow the farm and make it more sustainably and financially viable for potential future generations.

Cassandra Bush
Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Business, University of New England

Growing up on a beef cattle and mixed grazing property, Cassandra has always had an attachment to the land and a passion for agriculture. Through witnessing first-hand the impacts of drought on farmers, rural communities and the Australian agricultural sector, Cassandra has a strong interest in agricultural sustainability.

Cassandra has chosen to undertake a double degree in Agriculture and Law at the University of New England and intends to undertake work placements with agricultural producers, processors and/or distributors during university holidays in order to obtain valuable experience.

After completing her studies, Cassandra hopes to gain employment in a position which will enable her to effectively contribute to the future of the Australian agricultural industry. Her aspiration is to improve producers’ productivity and profitability, as well as making food products safe for all consumers.

Emily Hams - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Emily Hams
Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences, University of Adelaide

Emily was raised on her family’s mixed farming operation and Merino/Poll Merino stud in the mid north of South Australia, giving her a strong love for everything to do with agriculture. She developed an interest in animal nutrition through daily feeding and monitoring of show rams and has long been planning a career in agriculture.

Enrolled in a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Emily plans to pursue a career in animal nutrition whilst assisting with the day to day running of the family stud and developing rations for high performance.

Emily also hopes to make a difference to the Australian agricultural industry by assisting livestock graziers in times of extreme environmental conditions (such as drought) to ensure maximum livestock production through achievable and economic feeding. She hopes this will increase the viability of livestock enterprises in challenging times, as well as the livestock and agricultural industry as a whole.

Hugh Hudson - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Hugh Hudson
Bachelor of Agribusiness, Curtin University

Hugh has a love for farming in his blood, coming from a family with five generations of farming heritage. Growing up on the family farm in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, Hugh understands the dedication that Australian farmers have for their industry and their land.

Working on a mixed sheep and cropping farm during his gap year gave Hugh valuable hands-on experience, and he hopes his Bachelor of Agribusiness at Curtin University will enable him to gain employment in agribusiness when he graduates.

With an interest in broad acre farming, Hugh intends to use his knowledge to bring contemporary practices back to farming communities in order to increase yield, reduce chemical weed resistance and maintain farming in a drier climate for future generations.

Jemima Dobovan - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
 Jemima Donovan
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology / Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Charles Sturt University

Jemima experienced the importance of connection to land and community growing up on her family’s sheep, cattle and cropping farm in New South Wales. She has worked as a farm hand on the home property for years, as well as working at a local sheep stud, and has always worked towards providing a safe and nurturing environment for animals to live in.

Driven by a passion for raising healthy livestock and healing animals, it’s no surprise that Jemima has enrolled in a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/ Science at Charles Sturt University. She is looking forward to bringing new methods of preventative health, welfare, treatment and management for illness and injury to all species of animals.

Jemima hopes to retain her strong sense of belonging to the land by practicing as a veterinarian in a rural setting, advocating for best practice alongside profitable farming. She would like to use her studies to link ethical animal production with best ecological management on farms.

Kate Hodges - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Kate Hodges
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/ Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Charles Sturt University

As a young woman growing up on a commercial sheep property in the Central West region of New South Wales, Kate always had a strong passion to become a vet. Her love of animals is evident in their eclectic farm menagerie which includes peafowl, horses and sheep.

Enrolled in Veterinary Biology/Science at Charles Sturt University, Kate will return to the farm to work alongside her father during holidays. Her agricultural upbringing has given Kate an appreciation and gratitude for the rural and regional communities that have helped shape and support her, and the desire to give back to those communities through her chosen career.

Kate aspires to work as a veterinarian in a service with a similar concept to Royal Flying Doctor Service, which would greatly benefit remote farms with large animals that are either unable to be transported, or too far from a town to receive treatment.

Kate McCullough - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Kate McCullough
Bachelor of Engineering/ Bachelor of Science, University of Southern QLD

Kate grew up on her family’s grazing property in Queensland and has a deep respect and passion for rural communities. Attending a regional boarding school which struggled with availability of teaching staff has lgiven Kate an appreciation for the value of education and the impact teaching resources can have for rural students.

Enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering/Science at the University of Southern Queensland, Kate is keen to bring the skills she obtains through study back into these rural areas to ‘give back’ to those communities.

Kate is excited at the prospect of providing rural and disadvantaged students with the opportunity and encouragement to pursue further studies, especially in the STEM field, and working in education is one of the career paths she is considering. Kate would be delighted to work in an isolated area to give young people like herself a better chance at being successful.

Lachlan Day - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Lachlan Day
Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern QLD

From his early years accompanying his grandpa to tend to the family sheep flock, to more recent times driving the tractors and helping construct farm equipment, Lachlan has always been interested in agriculture. His childhood Lego constructions grew into a passion for building fully functional remote-controlled replica machinery.

Studying mechanical engineering was a logical step for Lachlan, who chose the University of Southern Queensland because of the agriculture and mechatronic engineering subjects offered. Continually looking for ways to make farming more efficient and productive, Lachlan’s focus is on automation and robotics.

Lachlan’s dream is to build a model automated farm to demonstrate new technology to farmers, and he intends to use his knowledge to build automated farming systems to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of agricultural innovation.

Luke Janssen - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Luke Janssen
Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Bioscience), University of Adelaide

Luke’s formative years were spent on his family’s dairy farm and later dairy agistment business, and he is involved in their current operation growing heifers for dairy clients as well as sheep and beef. His first-hand experience of the challenges of running a farm business hampered by drought conditions, dairy-heifer export bans and financial pressure have given Luke the determination to support himself independently and the desire to contribute to agricultural communities.

Luke has a deep respect for the relationship between farmers and their animals. His work experience with Primary Industries strengthened Luke’s interest in the challenges of veterinary work and inspired him to study.

Veterinary Bioscience at the University of Adelaide, with the aim of one day establishing his own veterinary business.

With a keen awareness of animal welfare issues, Luke hopes that a greater awareness of the issues surrounding animal production and health will lead to the development of ethical animal practices and management programs to increase animal productivity whilst maintaining solid animal welfare ethics.

Matilda Paesler - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Matilda Paesler
Bachelor of Rural Science, University of New England

Enrolled in a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England, Matilda has been involved in the agricultural industry all her life. She was raised on mixed livestock and cropping properties and, like most farm kids, was involved in many of the daily jobs. Having inspiring parents and her agriculture teacher in high school strengthened Matilda’s passion for the industry, particularly the importance of educating the public about agriculture.

Living through seasonal dry conditions has inspired Matilda to work towards finding more efficient ways to use water and more productive ways to farm during a drought. She is inspired by the way agriculture keeps rural towns alive, and her desire to contribute to regional communities is part of her motivation for working in the industry.

Matilda is interested in a wide variety of both plant and animal-based agriculture, and is considering a career in agronomy, beef genetics or public education.

Sabina Lawrence - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Sabrina Lawrence
Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences, University of Adelaide

Growing up in rural South Australia and studying agriculture at high school has given Sabrina a strong interest in cereal cropping and livestock production. During her gap year, working for the Almond Board of Australia at a research orchard, she developed a further fascination for horticulture.

Enrolled in a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide, Sabrina is looking forward to researching ways to grow crops more sustainably in South Australia, allowing farmers to increase yields in tough times such as drought at the same time as improving quality.

Sabrina is very aware of the need for agriculture to adapt to the challenges of climate change and believes that research and development will provide viable and sustainable farming practices, which will support the future prosperity of rural Australia.

Sophie Cargill - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Sophie Cargill
Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Charles Sturt University

Living on her family’s commercial sheep and cattle farm in rural New South Wales, Sophie has first-hand experience of the affects long-term drought can have on the mental, emotional, financial and physical health of people in rural communities.

Her personal understanding of the issues faced by remote communities has encouraged Sophie to pursue a career in the health sector, and she is enrolled in a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Charles Sturt University with the intention to complete a subsequent Doctor of Medicine.

Sophie’s goal is to be a General Practitioner in rural Australia, with a focus on women’s health and mental health. She hopes to make health services (particularly mental health) more accessible to rural and remote areas.

Elizabeth Falkiner - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Elizabeth (Libby) Falkiner
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Charles Sturt University

Libby grew up on a broadacre mixed farm in Victoria which housed an outdoor piggery, cattle stud and a self-replacing prime lamb flock. She was influenced by her grandfather Henry Hopkins (a Nuffield Scholar) and her father Simon Falkiner (Runner Up Bob Hawke National Landcare Award 2018) who taught her the importance of utilising education to make a difference.

Witnessing the cutting edge of veterinary science, such as IVF conception and stem cell therapy, inspired Libby to enrol in a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Science at Charles Sturt University. She has a strong understanding of the commercial implications of animal welfare and sustainability, having seen sales soar after the business’ outdoor piggery became RSPCA approved./p>

Libby intends to develop a suite of skills that will allow her to influence the development of sustainable farming systems to align with the ethical and environmental demands being placed on producers by the wider community. She hopes to help farmers in her capacity as a veterinarian to navigate production, welfare and social concerns.

Megan Seis - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Megan Seis
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology / Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Charles Sturt University

Megan grew up on her family’s mixed sheep, cattle and cropping farm in New South Wales. Observing visiting vets do their work, and through work experience with the local vet, she was inspired to study veterinary science at Charles Sturt University.

Once qualified, Megan is planning to return to a regional area to assist in improving and maintaining animal health and wellbeing, and positively impact on local communities. With an interest in genetics, her long-term aim is to assist with state-wide breeding programs of Merino and composite breeds, improving overall flock wool and meat to make Australia products more competitive on domestic and global markets.

Megan is keenly aware of the importance of agricultural research, particularly in the animal health sector, and intends to contribute to the improvement of pharmaceuticals and farm practices to increase sustainability and profitability. She would also love to run a property of her own and hopes in the future to return to the family farm.

Monica Mcrae - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Monique McRae
Bachelor of Agribusiness, University of New England

Monique grew up on the family farm in New South Wales where her father taught her everything he knew about sheep and prime lamb production. Curious by nature, Monique was always asking questions and the more she learnt, the deeper her interest became.

Sharing her dad’s passion for his stock and love for the land has inspired Monique to undertake a Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of New England.

With her degree, Monique hopes to own or manage a large agricultural business that incorporates technological systems and advances, uses new environmentally sustainable practices and provides training and seminars to assist other primary producers. She aims to honour her longstanding interest in livestock by implementing solutions to improve welfare standards.

Olivia Sheehan - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Olivia Sheehan
Bachelor of Health Sciences/Master of Occupational Therapy, Flinders University

Growing up on her family’s farm in a rural community, Olivia has seen the challenges faced by regional communities during drought conditions. Having lived experience of chronic pain following a netball injury, she also understands the relative lack of health care services in regional areas.

Olivia’s personal health experience, and the care she received from allied health service providers, led her to decide on a career in occupational therapy. For this reason, she has enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Sciences/Master of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Flinders University.

Olivia intends to move back to the country to use her OT knowledge to assist injured farmers to continue working by providing them with strategies they can use in their everyday life. In providing a valuable service to rural and remote residents, Olivia hopes to reduce the healthcare challenges experienced by individuals and their families.

Sarah Jane Coggan 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Sarah-Jane Coggan
Bachelor of Business Management / Communications, University of Queensland

Sarah-Jane’s upbringing on her family’s mixed farming enterprise has given her both a love for agriculture and a solid understanding of the challenges faced by the industry.

Torn between her scientific and creative sides, Sarah-Jane studied an unusual combination of subjects at high school – Chemistry, Visual Art and extension Mathematics – and often applied her creative problem-solving skills to managing livestock, feedlot and multiple farming operations.

By undertaking a dual degree in Business Management and Communications at the University of Queensland, Sarah-Jane hopes to enhance her natural creative instincts, enabling her to develop innovative solutions for the agricultural industry. As well as turning problems into opportunities, she also intends to use her communication skills to shine a positive light on Australian agriculture.

Willian Lee - 2020 Scholarship Recipient
William Lee
Bachelor of Agriculture, The University of Melbourne

William comes from a fourth-generation cereal and sheep farming family in north-west Victoria, where he owns 100 merino ewes and contributes to the cropping and feedlotting programs. With four of the last six years being drought affected, he is all too familiar with the challenges of running a farming business under difficult conditions.

Having a passion for agriculture, and a strong desire to learn more about the industry, William is enrolled in a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne. He is working towards a career as an agronomist through which he hopes to improve the practises of primary producers to increase productivity and profitability using existing resources, with less water.

With a particular interest in the use of drought tolerant plant varieties, William hopes to eventually bring his knowledge home to the family farm to make the farm’s operation more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

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