Being close to home while she studies means the world to University of Tasmania student Jemma Stevens.
In previous years, pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor would have meant moving to the other side of the island, but leaving her family during a tumultuous time in their lives would have been a personal sacrifice and a financial burden almost too great to bear.
Fortunately, she can now study a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the Rural Clinical School in Burnie, just 45 minutes from home.
Jemma was also delighted to discover she had become the 2021 recipient of the Harold Carroll Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship will support her during her studies, lessening the financial strain on Jemma and her family during a challenging time.
“I have a brother who has Down Syndrome, Autism and is in remission from Leukemia, so most of my parents’ income goes towards appointments and equipment for him.”
Jemma said the scholarship has given her the opportunity to study her course closer to home without the added stresses of finances.
“It is already assisting me financially to cover costs of fuel from travelling to Burnie every week, the cost of uniforms as part of the Rural Clinical School and supplies for my course such as textbooks and other medical equipment.”
The scholarship was established in memory of the late Harold Carroll, a retired grazier, to support promising students educated in Devonport, particularly those facing financial barriers to education and who would like to make a contribution to the North-West Coast.
“I’m extremely thankful for the scholarship and the opportunities it has provided me with,” Jemma said.
Not only does Jemma intend on staying at home while she studies, she would also like to carve out her career there too.
“I would really love to work as a doctor on the North-West coast,” she said.
“It is important to me to remain in Tasmania as I am aware of the demographics and the medical issues facing our population.
“By remaining on the North-West Coast, I feel that I can give back to the community that has given a lot to me.
“It concerns me greatly that we have a lack of medical professionals in the state of Tasmania, and it is my desire to add to this workforce.
Currently, she said the North-West Coast relies largely on a fly-in-fly-out workforce.
“It is my goal, even though I am only one person, to assist in the long-term sustainability of the medical profession on the North-West Coast.”