The inaugural Wal Dunsdon Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to deserving young scholar and second-year University of Queensland veterinary technician student, Kobey Warren by south west Queensland Country Education Foundation Paroo.
Kobey, 19, has “always dreamed” of working with animals in rural Australia in the field of veterinary science after her education.
With both her parents heavily invested in life on their property outside of Cunnamulla in Queensland, she admits the realities of drought make it tough to look further than the farm when planning her future.
“Being the first in the family to be accepted into university was very exciting. I had always dreamed of having a future job in relation to helping animals and when I was accepted, I knew I was on the right track,” Kobey said.
“It was new step for my family being the first to go, but we were all excited to see how it would end up. Being the oldest child, I always had to try different opportunities first and thankfully I had a smooth transition into my new life as a university student.”
Drought, as well as short staffing and mental health wellbeing, are threats which constantly place pressure constantly on rural Australia’s veterinary industry.
Kobey already recognises these challenges and hopes to forge a way forward with a community-based approach of working together with like-minded colleagues and communities.
“I hope in the future after working in clinics, I can come back to study to be a vet for rural areas,” Kobey said.
“A veterinary technician role is more an animal handling job, and it is exactly what I love about working in clinics. Tending to the animals needs and giving them best chance in life is what makes me happy and I hope the future will give me those opportunities.”
Kobey said being awarded the $5,000 Wal Dunsdon Memorial Scholarship in 2019 will take significant financial strain away from her parents.
“It is hard at times to make ends need whilst going through the drought. But my family has tried their best and I couldn’t thank them enough,” she said.
Michelle O’Sullivan from CEF Paroo said the local committee has supported Kobey with education grants in 2018 and 2019 as they believe Kobey’s passion for rural and regional Australia will serve generations to come.
“Kobey demonstrated a huge amount of dedication to her studies and future aspirations, as well as a passion and willingness for working in remote, rural communities,” Michelle said.
Freddy Sharpe, CEO of the carbon farming project developer Climate Friendly said he was delighted to be part of the selection committee and described Kobey as a “passionate, energetic, articulate and impressive young student”.
“Climate Friendly is invested in a sustainable and productive future for the Paroo Shire, and to this effect we are proud to support this important initiative.”
The Wal Dunsdon Memorial Scholarship was established in 2019 by the Country Education Foundation (CEF) Paroo, with the support of Wal Dunsdon’s Family as well as Paraway Pastoral Company after Wal’s sudden death.
It is sponsored by CEF Paroo and Paraway Pastoral Company and Climate Friendly Pty Ltd.
The late Wal Dunsdon was one of the CEF Paroo’s inaugural scholarship recipients in 2006.
This scholarship is to be awarded to young students from south west Queensland who seek to study an agriculture-based course.