22 March 2017
A former Monto schoolgirl in the final year of her combined Education/Science degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast is the inaugural recipient of the Rowe Scientific Chemistry Scholarship.
Ellen McGuigan, 20, now of Sippy Downs, has received the $5,000 scholarship to assist with her education and living expenses as she pursues her goal of becoming a science teacher in a rural or remote area.
The scholarship, provided by Australian scientific laboratories supplier Rowe Scientific Pty Ltd, is awarded to a USC undergraduate majoring in Chemistry.
“I’m passionate about teaching in rural and remote areas where resources are limited and children may be disadvantaged,” she said.
“This scholarship will be a great help with the costs of my final teaching prac, which I hope will be in remote north Queensland.
“I come from a farm environment and I’d love to teach other rural kids about chemistry and how it’s relevant to their lives. Chemistry is not just periodic tables – there’s the whole environmental side of it, from studying soil to renewable energy.”
Ms McGuigan graduated from Monto State High School in 2013 and enrolled at USC’s Sippy Downs campus straight after achieving her OP5.
She received a $20,000 Tim Fairfax Regional Scholarship in her first year at USC. The award recognises high academic achievement and leadership skills in first-year students who have to leave their regional or remote home towns to study at university.
“I’m grateful for both scholarships because I’m the first person in my extended family to go to university, and the whole experience is new to us – including the costs,” she said. “Having that funding for resources and living expenses has really helped me to succeed.”
Ms McGuigan, who is minoring in English, said she chose USC for its atmosphere and focus on building relationships between students and academics.
“I study Education, so I know how important these relationships are. I didn’t want to be just another number.”
She said practical placements at schools in Caloundra and Gladstone as part of her USC degree had confirmed her ambitions.
“I chose a career in teaching because it provides challenges, excitement, personal reward and a chance to help people achieve their goals,” she said.
“It’s not only a door to engaging the minds of the younger generation, but a chance to learn new things myself every day.”
— Julie Schomberg