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Axel Nurdin from Ulladulla, a small town in the Shoalhaven region of the NSW South Coast wants to be a doctor.
When we met him earlier this year, he was attentive and reserved, and you just know that he is a quiet achiever.  He says, “I will always strive for further education and the desire to be a lifetime learner.” 

Audi Foundation – CEF Rising Star 2021:
Axel Nurdin

Local Foundation:
Shoalhaven Education Fund

Years Supported:

University of New South Wales

Bachelor of Medical Science

Other Support:
Audi Foundation 2021 Scholar

Axel is more than just an incredible academic.

Dedicated, honest, dependable and compassionate are just some of the words used to describe him in the four nominations he received for this years’ awards.  It is clear he is already a person who has the ability to profoundly impact the lives of those around him.  

We asked him about life, education, the Shoalhaven Education Fund, and about receiving the 2021 Audi Foundation – CEF Rising Star award.

Congratulations on your CEF Alumni Award. How does it feel to be recognised as a CEF Alumni Award winner?
It feels very rewarding! I think there are many others that also deserve the award, I am super grateful to have been selected.

What are your greatest achievements to date?
I think my greatest and proudest achievement to date would have to be how much I have developed throughout this year. I know it’s not a specific prize or award, but I believe those don’t really represent you as an individual.

“The true achievement is trying to become a better version of yourself everyday.

What do you like to do and what are you passionate about?
In my spare time I like sleeping, eating and cooking, going to the gym, socialising with friends, and learning interesting and useful things!

I am passionate about balancing and optimising life, whether it’s personal, academic, extracurricular, work, etc. I love learning about how to properly learn as efficiently as possible, so I focused on “learning how to learn” more than simply “studying for uni”.


“In the few short months I’ve known him he’s become an absolute rock for me. Completely dependable, honest and utterly dedicated to his work.
I’ve seen him demonstrate leadership and charisma that is beyond his years in our society.”


“I have never doubted his unwavering commitment to his studies. His dedication towards a medical career as well as his reasons for aspiring to be a doctor shows that his contribution to society will be one to be marvelled at in the years to come.”

“I am convinced that Axel deserves this award.
In the time I have known Axel, he has been nothing short of compassionate, persistent and an overall strong role model.
If anyone deserves this award, it’s Axel!”


“Axel is a very talented and deserving individual who is currently in his first year of university, and absolutely smashing it. His academic results are out of this world, and are an indication of his endeavours to achieve the best in everything he does.”

What do you remember most about receiving your grant(s) from CEF? What did it mean to you? How did it help you?
I remember looking at university accommodation and realising how expensive living in Sydney would be. From there I started catastrophising about how many hours of work per week I need to do to, how can I balance this, what will be the best way moving forward and a lot of thinking.

When I received my grant from SEF, it helped tremendously in terms of looking at options I thought were just out of reach. I mainly used the grant to help pay rent, as it is consistently the largest cost for me.

How important do you think the work of CEF and Shoalhaven Education Fund is?
I strongly believe that CEF is doing amazing work helping rural and regional students overcome the obstacles we face when pursuing our goals.

The Shoalhaven Education Fund (SEF) is my local foundation, and I would like to mention Sophie Ray as she has been very supportive during my involvement with SEF.

“I came to Ulladulla when I was 11 years old, eager to start high school. 
Thankfully, the local community at Ulladulla welcomed me with open arms.”

What benefits do you think staying connected or reconnecting with the CEF Alumni Network can provide?
I think it’s important to stay connected to the CEF Alumni Network because there are heaps of great people in there. I think that I haven’t fully seen the benefits of networking in the professional industry, but I am trying to keep connected.

How important is it to give back to your local community?
Ulladulla is a wonderful place to be and they were the ones that presented opportunities to me that I took and am grateful for.

It has really opened my eyes that I now have a hometown that I belong to. It is very important to me to give back to Ulladulla because they have given my family many opportunities.

No matter what happens in the future, Ulladulla is the place where I grew up and is a big contributor of my identity.

Once he finishes his study at the University of New South Wales and heads out into the word, there is no question that our 2021 Audi Foundation – Rising Star will make a wonderful doctor. Not just because of his intelligence and the academic ability he clearly has to achieve this goal, but also because of the incredible traits he possesses as person.

The 2021 CEF Alumni Awards are proudly supported by:


Author Nicole

CEF Engagement & Development

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