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Newcastle Lord Mayor’s Scholarship recipients ‘hoping to change lives’

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The latest recipients of the City of Newcastle Lord Mayor’s Scholarship are hoping to use their respective grants to change people’s lives.

Madison Innis, who is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, and Lara Mackay, studying speech pathology, secured the financial assistance from more than 100 applicants.

The Meg Purser Communications Scholarship was awarded to Rhoyce Nova.

City of Newcastle Lord Mayor’s Scholarship recipients Madison Innis (left) and Lara Mackay (right), with Rhoyce Nova (Meg Purser Communications Scholarship) and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes. Photo: Rod Thompson

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the University of Newcastle (UoN) trio were deserving of their plaudits.

“Madison, Lara and Rhoyce are three amazing Novocastrian women, who are doing great things,” she explained.

“The scholarships aim to support female students studying an undergraduate degree with the UoN.

“They’re open to any pupil with a high grade point average and academically-gifted, who’re experiencing monetary hardship.

“It’s a small gesture but an initiative I proudly started when I was elected Lord Mayor.

“Madison, who is doing her honours year and undertaking some interesting research into biomedical science, and Lara, who has a profound love for health care, are fantastic beneficiaries.”

Ms Innis admitted she was stunned by the fabulous news.

“I was shaking from head-to-toe when I found out I’d got the scholarship,” she said.

“In fact, I had to pull a friend aside and ask them to read it to me again to make sure I had it right.

“I could not believe it… I honestly didn’t think I’d even receive a reply when I applied.

“So, when it all sank in, I actually started crying.

“I’ve had a lot of life experience and many things have happened.

“But, I eventually found my way to biomedical science because I knew it was a good pathway to be a doctor.

“My goal’s to become a paediatrician or a surgeon one day.

“So, this is the first step.”

Ms Innis explained how the scholarship would assist her.

“I’m also a single mum, so it means instead of dedicating a lot of time to try and fit in work, I can now spend more time with my son and focus on my studies,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“That’s been really hard in the past, juggling everything.

“Especially during my honours year, it’s very time consuming.

“However, this [scholarship] will make things a bit easier.”

A delighted Ms Mackay expressed a similar reaction.

“I was shocked at the start,” she said.

“But, once I settled down, I was very grateful and appreciative, I never expected it.

“When you’re studying speech pathology, you need to embark on several placements, which provide work opportunities.

“I’ve just finished my second [placement] for this year.

“So, that means I’m now able to undertake a lot more volunteering to gain experience because there are so many aspects to speech pathology.

“I’m hoping to become a paediatric feeding specialist, which allows me to help out at a bunch of different clinics.”

Ms Mackay’s career route seemed destined from the beginning.

“I’ve always wanted to enter health care; my family’s in that sector,” she said.

“I love how they’d come home and talk about their patients and the endearing way someone would come up to them and say ‘thank you’.

“I really want to help people, too.

“And, speech pathology allows me to work more with the families.

“I believe that’s an important component.

“You’re not just dealing with an individual, but their relatives as well… it’s really wholistic.”

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