SALLY Boardman's beaming smile could be for many reasons - she's succeeding in her chosen area of study and, more recently, she's been the recipient of an important scholarship.
The former Leeton student, who is currently in her fourth year of Medicine at the University of NSW in Sydney, was chosen by the Royal Agricultural Society Foundation (RASF) to receive one of their scholarships to help with her studies and expenses.
An initiative designed to build strong and vibrant NSW rural communities, the scholarships are awarded to students originally from rural areas who are studying at university or TAFE within NSW.
"I found out about the RASF scholarship last year through searching for rural medical scholarships on the internet," Miss Boardman said.
"I also had a friend who had applied for the scholarship so thought I would apply.
"The cost of the scholarship has primarily gone towards supporting living costs while studying in Sydney. Rent expenses alone for students here are between $15,000 to 20,000 per year so this helps reduce the burden of that and reduce the hours of part-time work I'm doing per week to support that."
Miss Boardman has thanked the RASF for their help, saying it has gone a long way.
This year Miss Boardman is completing a medical research project across the disciplines of paediatric oncology and nephrology under a team of clinicians and academics from both Sydney Children's Hospital and the Prince of Wales Hospital.
With plenty of study remaining, Miss Boardman said she continually changes her mind about the career path she wanted to take.
"As you're studying you end up changing your mind following every new specialty you try because it's all so interesting when you're learning," she said.
"I guess overall, my goal is to ensure that I honour the privilege I've been given and use this to improve the health and lives of the community around me, wherever that may be."
She said the words of one particular person was something she kept in her mind today.
"One of the things that has really shaped my career aspirations was the words of Albury's Doctor Amanda Cohn last year at the Australian Medical Students Association Rural Health Summit," Miss Boardman said.
"She described the privilege and with that the responsibility we have as students and future doctors to advocate for people and our communities and to speak up and take action when external circumstances (including difficult issues of politics) prevent people from accessing their rights to health.
"I have always been interested in public health and global medicine and this further inspired me to pursue those goals and continue to use my position to help the disadvantaged - whether that's rural and remote communities here in Australia or patients in the developing world who suffer from diseases that you simply don't see here, due to differences in both healthcare provision and resources."
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