Ella Sprunt has an enviable study spot to retreat to this week. She’s headed back to the family dairy farm at Numurkah for the peace, quiet and glorious space.
The Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) student says she couldn’t imagine life any other way, and as such, she’s on a path to return home once she completes her goal to become a doctor.
“I’m really grateful to have grown up on the farm,” Ella says. “I got to run around in the dirt and the paddocks, play with the animals, do the motorbike thing. It was an opportunity to have adventures as a kid. I loved having the freedom of the dairy farm.
“Being in a rural community, I’ve also seen so many barriers to healthcare … I want to work for and with the community I grew up in and treat all the people I know.”
Ella credits her occupational therapist mum for inspiring her to pursue the health field. “I’ve always known I wanted to work in a hospital setting. As a kid you dream of being a doctor, but it always seemed out of reach for me.
“This opportunity came up to study the biomedical science course, which allows me a guaranteed pathway into medicine, just as long as I keep up my grade average, so it’s quite obtainable now, that dream.”
Biomedical Science (Medical) graduates have the option of then studying a Doctor of Medicine in Shepparton through the University of Melbourne.
The challenges of living away from home to study have now became a little easier for Ella, thanks to being one of 25 students awarded a $5000 Rural Bank scholarship to help kickstart her career in rural Australia.
Rural Bank CEO Alexandra Gartmann says the scholarships reflect the bank’s commitment to encouraging the next generation of leaders in rural communities.
“This year, many rural students, families and local communities are facing devastating drought conditions, and these circumstances can place increased stress on the family dynamic and household budget,” she says.
“Each year I am inspired by the diverse range of applicants. These students are passionate and enthusiastic about their future and are eager to implement positive change.”
Ella says her Year 12 careers teacher at Goulburn Valley Grammar School encouraged all the students to research and apply for bursaries, which is how she found out about the Rural Bank opportunity.
She says the funds have helped with all those out-of-pocket expenses around starting uni, plus her on-campus accommodation. She says it’s taken the pressure off her family and her weekend job as a pharmacy assistant in Numurkah.
She says it’s been just one highlight of a great start to her uni years. “I found Year 12 really quite stressful, but I’m loving uni,” she says. “The contact hours are reduced, so I have more time to myself and I can do those things I put off in Year 12. I love classes. I’m finding being on a smaller campus my lecturers know me as a person and I have a great relationship with them. They’re almost like the teachers at school, so I’ve found the transition really easy.”
Ella says she also loves the mix of assessments; such as oral presentations, essays, and now, exams. We wish Ella and her fellow biomed cohort all the best for their first three exams next week.