Three students hailing from the Bega Valley have successfully attained scholarships in the 2021 RASF Rural Scholarships program that will support them to pursue their dream careers.
Recipients include Heath Dummett from Verona near Cobargo, India Burden from Bega and Carmen MacGregor from Quaama.
The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation scholarships are designed to support regional students that have had to move away from home for their studies.
"The RASF Rural Scholarship and VET Scholarship programs are vital in assisting students from regional NSW pursue their dream careers," RASF manager Cecilia Logan said.
"Our scholars come from every walk of life, but the one thing they have in common is a passion to give back to regional communities."
All three recipients from the Bega Valley intend to use the knowledge acquired through their studies to bring about positive changes and fresh ideas to communities.
Heath Dummett is in his first year of university, studying a Certificate III in Agriculture at Tocal College.
He said he was excited to receive the scholarship and that he greatly appreciated the financial freedom that would relieve some of the financial pressures he has felt since moving away from home.
"I was sort of excited you know it was big step, just moving away from home," he said.
Mr Dummett's interest in farming came about when he was 14, while helping his father around the property.
"I started getting on the tractor and rearing cattle with Dad and sort of just grew a love for it."
Mr Dummett is focused on playing a role in driving a sustainable future for primary producers and those making a living on the land.
"The way the population is growing we're going to need a lot more food and resources for the amount of people."
Overall Mr Dummett is thankful for the scholarship and support given to him.
"I feel really thankful for the scholarship and thankful for Mum and Dad raising me the way I am."
India Burden, 22, is in her fourth year of university, studying a Bachelor of Education Technology and Applied Studies at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.
Ms Burden grew up in Cobargo but moved to the outskirts of Bega when she was 14 and has really enjoyed the rural farm life which led to her wanting to pursue a career as an agriculture teacher.
"You begin to notice in many ag teachers that we all have one area of passion. I think mine would have to be cows, weeds and sustainability," Ms Burden said.
"I am also interested in the scientific testing you can do with the weeds, such as genetically modification and chemical resistances," she added.
Ms Burden discovered she wanted to become an agriculture teacher during her gap year in 2018 when she decided she wanted a job she'd be passionate about and enjoy going to every day.
"This grant has been tremendously helpful. I am very grateful for this scholarship, as the funds will guide me through my final year of studies."
Ms Burden's scholarship was donated by Michael and Jenny Millner.
"Its such a warming feeling to know that somebody out there that you have never met is willing to invest in the future generation of Australia, and ultimately, your future."
Ms Burden is currently working casually at Junee High and hoping to relocate to remote NSW when she graduates in October this year.
She said she wanted to work with disadvantaged schools "teaching the next generation agriculture and the employment potential in the industry".
Carmen MacGregor who hails from Quaama, is studying a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Wollongong.
Ms MacGregor has wanted to become a doctor since she was 14, inspired by her mother and a locum doctor who had passed through the Bega Valley Katungul clinic.
"I have an amazing mum that is in nursing and healthcare management, that's how I got exposure to the Yuin community back home," she said.
She said she felt prompted and inspired by the locum doctor to pursue her studies,
"She embodied so much compassion for the community and kindness, it was really good to meet her."
Ms MacGregor is grateful for the scholarship donated by Agricultural Societies Council of NSW.
"For me the scholarship represents a lot of opportunity.
"Where I will be able to engage in extra curricular activities that align with my degree and will allow me to engage in my course to a greater level so I can become a better doctor in the future," she said.
Ms MacGregor's long-term goal is to provide quality health care to communities, which she regards as vital and something every community needs.
"For me I want to be able to support the facilitation and the progression of health care within communities."
Ms MacGregor said that during her involvement with the showgirl movement in Sydney earlier this year, she witnessed a lot of the behind the scenes of the RAS foundation.
"I met the hardworking incredible volunteers that put so much time, effort and commitment into keeping the RASF going.
"And I appreciate the effort that goes into these scholarships to make these grants and opportunities for people."
Applications for the 2022 RASF Rural Scholarships program and 2022 RASF VET Scholarships open July 1, 2021. For further information, visit www.rasf.org.au.