14 July 2023

Scholarship with regional focus makes uni life less stressful for two South Coast women

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
Sarah McGann and Carmen MacGregor

Sarah McGann and Carmen MacGregor were among more than 70 students to be awarded a scholarship aimed at rural and regional Australians. Photos: Royal Agricultural Society of NSW.

Two young women from the South Coast have been offered a helping hand as they work to make their dreams come true.

Sarah McGann and Carmen MacGregor were two of a record 73 students to receive a Royal Agricultural Society Foundation (RASF) Rural Scholarship in 2023.

The program provides financial support to rural and regional students who are enrolled in or applying to an accredited tertiary course at an Australian university, college, or TAFE.

Up to $6000 can be awarded to those undertaking full-time study, or up to $3000 for recipients studying part-time.

For Ms McGann, being awarded the scholarship means the financial pressures of tertiary education have been reduced.

“Receiving it has taken a lot of pressure off of me,” she said.

“Studying full-time means I can’t work full-time, so this is a big help when I think about buying books or equipment for uni.”

READ ALSO Crookwell woman in the pink after being named top non-traditional apprentice

Ms McGann, who is from Mogo, is studying a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English literature, and has plans to complete a Masters in Education before teaching in regional schools.

“I’ve always found that I love helping people,” she said.

“If I can help someone with a problem they have or teach them something or show them something new, I really enjoy it.

“In my career, I want to make sure kids in regional schools get the opportunities that I can give them,” Ms McGann said.

RASF Manager, Cecilia Logan said students from outside of the big cities could face extra pressures when starting tertiary study.

“Pursuing higher education is often financially and emotionally demanding for rural and regional students, due to the need to relocate to urban centres, away from their family and their familiar way of life.

“The rural scholarship program aims to ease the burden of financial stress by assisting with accommodation and education related costs, so that students can give greater focus to their studies,” she said.

Carmen MacGregor from Quaama said she had received the scholarship in previous years, as well as in 2023, and each time it had come with support.

“I think for me, each time that I’ve received the scholarship is a big reminder that you’ve got people who do really want to support you, they recognise you, they see you.

“It is a comfort to know people want to support your career goals and your ambitions and celebrate your achievements,” she said.

READ ALSO Yass Valley youth invited to have their say – about everything

Ms MacGregor is in her third year of medicine, and has also graduated from an undergraduate degree.

“I grew up seeing my mother work in healthcare, and so I got to see how rural healthcare works.

“There is a significant gap that exists in health outcomes between metropolitan and rural areas,” she said.

“I was initially inspired by meeting quite a few doctors working in those rural communities and providing care to patients.”

She said that being a recipient of the RASF Rural Scholarship meant she could focus on her studies, while also receiving mentoring through the Royal Agricultural Society.

“The scholarship, with its financial support, does relieve a lot of financial pressure so I can apply myself to my studies to the best of my abilities,” Ms MacGregor said.

“I’m able to commit a lot more time to studying, as I work to be the best possible doctor I can be.”

Like Ms McGann, Ms MacGregor also wants to work in regional or rural areas after graduation.

“I think I want to experience multiple areas of New South Wales, and I always saw myself back in the country areas,” she said.

“As for if I end up back home in Quaama, who knows?”

Applications for the 2024 RASF Rural Scholarship are open and will close 17 September, with information available online.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.