This article was originally published in the Northern Daily Leader

Six students from the New England North West region joined 60 others from across country New South Wales this week to celebrate being given a career-defining boost when the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) announced the recipients of its 2021 Rural Scholarship and VET Scholarship programs.

The New England 2021 RASF scholarship recipients are: Teanna Heywood from Tamworth, Caitlyn Galagher from Wee Waa, Dimity Evans from Uralla, Stephanie Cameron from Guyra, Rowan Cowley from Inverell, and Dennis Gordon from Armidale.

Caitlyn Galagher grew up in the small town of Wee Waa located in North West NSW. Caitlyn’s interest in nursing began when she was young and she never wavered, even completing a traineeship in Nursing at Wee Waa Community Hospital whilst she was still in high school.

Caitlyn did a Certificate III in Acute Care Nursing whilst completing my HSC and is now studying a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of New England. She will return to Wee Waa upon graduation to help address the shortage of medical professionals in regional communities. Coolawarra Alpacas has donated her scholarship.

Supporting students from a variety of industries, the scholarships provide financial assistance for regional and rural students studying at a recognised NSW University or TAFE who have a desire to give back to regional NSW.

Carmel Dyer-Pitroff has donated a scholarship which will go to Teanna Haywood, a fifth-year medical student, studying in Port Macquarie. Teanna grew up on a cattle property outside of Tamworth and had a broad exposure to agriculture across NSW and QLD including the difficulties rural communities face accessing medical care.

Teanna hopes to practice medicine in a remote or rural community in the future, working as a rural obstetric generalist and providing exceptional care in the area of women’s health.

RASF Manager Cecilia Logan said the program provides financial freedom for students in regional areas or those looking to work in a rural community.

“The RASF Rural Scholarship and VET Scholarship programs are vital in assisting students from regional NSW pursue their dream careers,” Mrs Logan said.

“For most regional students further study requires them to relocate and move away from their families.”

“These scholarships are designed to help make that move or decision a little easier with funding to assist with accommodation, textbooks or income which allows them to focus on their studies.”

Our scholars come from every walk of life, but the one thing they have in common is a passion to give back to regional communities.

RASF Manager Cecilia Logan

Since 2007, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) has invested over $6.2 million into country NSW through its education and community grant programs. This includes over 600 scholarships to students across NSW, including targeted scholarships for regional journalism and those pursuing careers in the Australian wine industry. Applications for the 2022 RASF Scholarship programs open on July 1.

The RAS Foundation is a charitable foundation that encourages educational opportunities and helps build strong and sustainable rural and regional communities through a range of targeted grants and scholarships.

Inverell local Rohan Cowley is in his second year at the University of New England studying a Bachelor of Teaching K-6 and will receive a scholarship donated by Susan Maple-Brown.

Rohan has long had a strong desire to become a teacher particularly in a remote rural location, believing location, distance, socio-economic disadvantage and accessibility should not define a student or prevent them from realising their goals. Rohan wants to educate, nurture and have a positive impact on students, supporting and inspiring them to be active community members.

Dimity Evans from Uralla Shire is beginning a Bachelor of Rural Science or Bachelor of Animal Science she has received a scholarship donated by the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW.

Miss Evans has a passion for agriculture, particularly beef cattle. Seeking a career in either genetics or animal nutrition, she is studying in order to influence and forge improvements in agricultural production. Dimity hopes to further expand her knowledge with time spent studying abroad and to have a positive impact on the future of beef across the state.

Dennis Gordon was born in Armidale and later moved to Newcastle where he has settled and immersed himself and his young family in the local indigenous community, eager to take on a role as a mentor. He has completed his Certificate III in Carpentry and is now studying a Certificate IV in Building and Construction which will allow him to start his own small building company and provide apprenticeship pathways for young indigenous men and women.

Dennis will study for his Certificate IV in Building and Construction helped by a scholarship donated by the TA Field Family.

Stephanie Cameron grew up on a family farm west of Guyra situated in Regional NSW. She is the 6th generation on the family farm and has always enjoyed working and assisting with running super fine wool Merinos. She is at the University of New England completing a Bachelor of Agriculture and plans on following this with a Master of Education to become an agriculture teacher and play a role helping shape the future of regional and rural NSW.

Stephanie’s scholarship has also been donated by TA Field Family.