When Sarah Evans moved from Townsville to study nursing and paramedic science at QUT she didn’t know a soul and found herself working several jobs to support herself.
She couldn’t focus on her studies and feared not being able to continue. “I was getting home from work at 9 or 10pm and studying until the early hours and then getting up at 6am for work and classes,” the 19-year-old said.
Now, as an inaugural recipient this year of a Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Jamie Jackway Paramedic Scholarship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, she can concentrate on completing her dual Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree and fulfil her goal – to work with Indigenous communities and raise awareness of Indigenous health issues.
A Wiri woman, Sarah, pictured, was born in Mackay and grew up in Townsville. At school she thought of pursuing a healthcare career to help people – particularly when she was in Year 9 and her brother spent time in hospital. His appendix burst when being removed and he suffered complications, and Sarah was in awe of the hospital nursing staff, their insights and care.
“But I wasn’t sure about being in a job like that with that responsibility, so I put the idea to one side,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to become a chemical engineer. But in Year 11 I went to a workshop in Brisbane and realised it wasn’t for me.
“My dad suggested paramedic science would be a good fit and I talked about it with the pastor at my church who was a paramedic. It was a bit of a leap of faith to start my studies, but I am loving it.
“At this stage I want to work as a paramedic after graduating, and perhaps in the future look at becoming a critical care paramedic. The nursing skills I am gaining and understanding of continuity of care will definitely assist me out in the field.”
There are 10 QAS Jamie Jackway Paramedic Scholarships being offered in 2021 for students starting a Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree or a Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedic Science dual degree in Semester 1. Applications close on 5 March.
The scholarships are among the range of support available to future and current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit and across the university faculties.
Oliver Savage, pictured, is a proud Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal man with connections to Bidjara and Dunghutti. In the second year of his Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) degree, he’s the recipient of the 2020 QIC Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship. This annually awarded scholarship is provided to an enrolled undergraduate studying full time.
Oliver’s two older brothers, who also studied at QUT, encouraged him to apply.
“The Oodgeroo Unit was a great support to my brothers and has been to me and I am honoured to have received this scholarship,” the 19-year-old said.
“It’s been a challenging year for everyone and the scholarship has not only eased the financial pressures, it’s a big motivator for me to do well at uni and really apply myself.
“I’d like to go on to do my Honours in psychology and I’d like to explore clinical practice as well, one-on-one practical psychology.”
Applications for the 2021 QIC Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship are open now and close on 5 March.
Other scholarships offered through the Oodgeroo Unit are:
- QAS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarship
- Arrow Energy Go Further Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship
- Bardon Lions Club Centennial Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship
- Oodgeroo Noonuccal Undergraduate and Postgraduate Scholarship
- Wilson Security Indigenous Scholarship
Explore all QUT scholarships here: qut.edu.au/study/fees-and-scholarships/scholarships
Visit the Oodgeroo Unit here: qut.edu.au/about/oodgeroo
Celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020 8-15 November Always Was, Always Will Be.
Main photo: QUT students awarded 2020 Indigenous scholarships