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“Anyone from a regional or rural area who wants to continue their studies – just go for it! Be brave enough to take that first step and the rest will come easy enough if you really want it.”


Bachelor of Paramedical Practice with Honours

La Trobe University Bendigo

Country Education Foundation of Edward River (CEF Edward River)
Co-Funding via La Trobe – CEF Education Partnership

Penny, who grew up in Deniliquin, NSW or ‘Deni” as the locals call it, is an inspiration for all rural and regional students wanting to further their education and give back to their community. She plans to dedicate herself to a career in medicine to ensure that rural and remote communities receive adequate health care, treatment and services.

Medicine in the Bush

After experiencing firsthand the detriments of inadequate health services in remote areas, Penny decided to pursue a career that will make a real difference.

Injured in a horse-riding accident in 2016, she had to be transported to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, almost four hours away from her home. As well as this, Penny has family members who have been impacted by the lack of health care professionals and services in remote areas.

Her experiences have pushed her towards a career in Paramedicine so that people in remote areas can have access to the best health care services possible and have a fighting chance.


I hope to eventually work in rural and remote areas of Australia and care for people who are too isolated to have access to even every day health services.

A Helping Hand

CEF Edward River has supported Penny since 2019, when she started a Bachelor of Health Science at La Trobe University. The funds allowed her to focus her time on studying which payed off when she acquired the grades to move into a Bachelor of Paramedical Practice with Honours.

“My proudest moment has been getting my successful transfer into the Honours degree. I let the message sit in my inbox for 2 days. I wasn’t brave enough to open it. It was super fulfilling (and relieving) to see my efforts rewarded.”

The CEF grant helped Penny update her study equipment, purchase textbooks, travel to university and acquire accommodation but says “for the most part, the funds have allowed me to put the most amount of time and focus into my studies as I possibly could, without having to constantly worry about how I would afford to keep going!”

If not for the support from CEF Edward River, I would not have been able to complete my last year of study let alone achieve the results I did. I owe it to them for helping me achieve my goals for 2020.

The Obstacles of Getting an Education

Before attending university, Penny worked for four years; making her a mature age student when she started. It was challenging at first, returning to full time study after an extended period away from the education scene and she found balancing study and work incredibly difficult.

Living in Deniliquin, Penny travels to the La Trobe campus in Bendigo, allowing her to continue her part time job at the Deniliquin Vet Clinic. “Being 2 hours away from my campus is also tough at times, however, with a good podcast to listen to, the trips aren’t all that bad.”

As a mature age student, I have a few more financial commitments than most students and therefore I have to work throughout the semester whilst most students are partying and going to the many, many social events held by La Trobe (before COVID).


Best playlist for concentrating?
Spacey Jane Radio on Spotify.

Favourite place for coffee or tea?
My very own kitchen.

Last book you read?
The Book of Ordinary People by Claire Varley.

Fantasy dinner party… if you could start a study group with any 5 people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Johnny Cash, Russell Brand, Rosie Waterland, Freddie Mercury and Sacha Baron Cohen.

How would you spend your last $10?
I’d give it to someone who needed it more.


Author Emma

CEF Students & Education Partnerships

More posts by Emma

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