Hannah Hawker (Parkes). Hannah is studying a Doctor of Medicine and her Scholarship was donated by UNE, AMP, and Susan Maple-Brown. Image Contributed.

Abby Byrnes (Lake Cargelligo), Lilly Meldrum (Nyngan), Hannah Hawker (Parkes) and Jacqueline Hodges (Forbes) have all received 2022 Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) Rural Scholarships.
Designed to financially support rural and regional students, studying at university, college or TAFE, the scholarships are aimed at students who are passionate about applying their knowledge and skills within regional communities.
RASF Rural Scholarship recipients will receive financial grants of $6000 for full-time study, or $3,000 for part-time study, made possible with the assistance of generous donors.
Sixty-nine students have been selected for this year’s Scholarship programs, with sixteen representing the Central West and Orana regions.
Abby is studying a Certificate IV in Wool Classing. Her Scholarship was donated by the Swane-Paynter Family.
“I grew up in Lake Cargelligo on a family sheep and cropping operation,” she explained.
“I now live in Temora working for Moses and Son and completing my Certificate IV in Wool Classing, learning all aspects of the business from administration to experience in the field in order to become a Wool Technician Officer.
“In my spare time you will find me outdoors playing sport, helping out on the family farm, involving myself in the community or spending time with my friends, family and my two dogs.”
Lilly is studying a Bachelor of Nursing and her Scholarship was donated by Susan Maple-Brown.
“I was born and raised in the small rural community of Nyngan and have moved to Charles Sturt University in Bathurst to study a Bachelor of Nursing,” she stated.
“I plan on staying in a rural community once I graduate and address the health inequities between indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. I understand the importance of strong health providers in regional areas and the difference they can make and aim to play a role in promoting smart choices and prevention to help break the cycle of poor health.”
Hannah is studying a Doctor of Medicine and her Scholarship was donated by UNE, AMP and Susan Maple-Brown.
“I was born and raised in Parkes before heading to the Riverina for University, completing my studies in Secondary Teaching,” she said.
“I am now retraining through Charles Sturt University’s medical program in Orange. I decided to pursue a career in medicine when my local hospital maternity unit closed because we could not attract an obstetrician to the area. This unit serviced Parkes and all of the small surrounding localities of mostly farming families. I hope I can make a difference by filling a gap and providing top quality accessible and long-term health care.”
Jacqueline is studying a Masters of Clinical Psychology and her Scholarship was donated by UNE, AMP and Susan Maple-Brown.
“I am a Wiradjuri woman currently living on Wiradjuri country in Central West NSW,” she said.
“I am studying a Master of Professional Psychology through Charles Sturt University because I am passionate about helping young people, especially Aboriginal youth. My goal is to help youth achieve good mental health and develop skills to support their mental health throughout their life. I plan to practice in the Central West when I complete my studies.”
RASF Manager, Cecilia Logan, said the Foundation is proud to support recipients in pursuing their dream careers.
“For many regional students, higher education requires them to move away from their homes and families, which can be both emotionally and financially difficult,” she revealed.
“The Rural scholarship program aims to make this transition easier by assisting with accommodation and education related costs and allowing students to concentrate on their studies without additional financial stress.”
“This year’s recipients have demonstrated a strong desire to give back to country NSW, and we are delighted to play a role in helping them achieve their goals.”
Since 2007, the RAS Foundation (RASF) has invested over $7.1 million into country NSW through its education and community grant programs. Over 700 scholarships have been provided to students across NSW, including targeted scholarships for careers in both regional journalism and the Australian wine industry.
Applications for the 2023 RASF Rural Scholarship program opened on 1 July 2022.