Hannah Martin was a college student in Tasmania’s North West when she knew she wanted to devote her career to helping cancer patients.

Hannah, 22, is now studying a Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science, which she began at the University of Tasmania, and is completing at Charles Sturt University.

In year 12, Hannah was sitting exams, and thinking about marks and where she might apply for study. It was around that time that her aunty became very sick with bowel cancer.

I started looking at what I could study at UTAS that would help in that field, because I didn’t want to move away from home. That’s where I started with radiation therapy.

Hannah was awarded the $20,000 Elphinstone Group/Family Scholarship in Medical Radiation Sciences, which supports high achieving students by covering study costs, HECS, accommodation, travel and living allowances.

The scholarship also provides the recipient with a three-year contract to work for the North-West Tasmanian Health Service.

Hannah was “very ecstatic” to win the scholarship.

“My family were very proud. Nearly every time I go home to visit, someone has heard about it and congratulates me.

“I really enjoy the fact-based learning in my degree, the anatomy and science-based classes.

I had moments studying, where I wavered; now, I absolutely love it and I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s been a rollercoaster, but it’s been fantastic.

When she graduates, Hannah will work as a radiation therapist.

“As part of my scholarship, for three years I am bonded to the Burnie facility. I’ll do that first, and if I like it, it would be great to stay there. I’ve got a lot of family on the central coast. After about five years, I plan to travel.

“And because of the scholarship, I have no debts to pay off and I’ve been able to save throughout university.”

While radiation therapy can be a challenging area for some, Hannah is focused on the good she will do.

“We see a lot of very sick people. You need to have quite a strong mentality to do it. We see people for up to six or seven weeks at a time, and you do form close connections. You have to focus on the positives of working in that area, and how you’re helping people.

“It’s a very vulnerable time for the individual and I can’t imagine anything worse than feeling uncomfortable. I think of my aunty, and I think about how I would want her to be treated, and I try to emulate that with patients.

I want to return to Tasmania, and really give back to the North West community that helped me.

Find out more about studying Health Sciences.