“Griffith (NSW) was able to give me so many opportunities growing up and I cannot think of anywhere else I would want to raise my own family one day,” says Jessica Verwey, CEF’s inaugural Origin Foundation Young Achiever award winner.
A Country Education Foundation of Griffith grant recipient, Jessica moved away from home to study vet science in Wagga, but plans to return to Griffith with her fiancé and a small menagerie of animals. With a love of good food, wine, cheese and Italian restaurant nights out with friends and family, she believes the country town lifestyle can’t be beaten.
In mid-2017, Jessica graduated from Charles Sturt University with first class honours in her Bachelor of Veterinary Science/Bachelor of Veterinary Biology. She also won the 2017 Veterinary Science Medal and is the first vet science student ever to be awarded the prestigious Charles Sturt University Medal. Since then, and with a published academic article under her belt, she has spent time working in Young NSW and most recently teaching back at CSU. In 2019, she will return to clinical veterinary practice in Griffith and says, “I have loved my time teaching at the university but equally am looking forward to getting back into clinical practice”.
Jessica was proud to receive her local grant from the Country Education Foundation of Griffith in 2013. She says, “I supported myself independently throughout university and being awarded the CEF grant meant that I was able to spend less time working and allowed me to invest more time in both my studies and also being involved in my broader university community”.
She encourages young students to follow their dreams and to seek out support from organisations like CEF. She hopes past CEF grant recipients will reconnect with their stories. “I think it’s important that we support CEF and demonstrate to the next generation of students going through that, with support, country students really can achieve anything!”