Courtney Anders

Courtney-I grew up on a farm in southwest Victoria near Warrnambool and definitely being a proud country girl, collecting stamps, rocks and raising Friesian heifer calves alongside school was day to day life for me.

My name is Courtney Anders and this is my story of how the Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship has supported me along my journey to becoming a qualified geologist.

In primary school ‘geologist’ was coined to me by my Mum and surprisingly, I’ve never thought twice about any other career. During year 12 I studied geography, biology and chemistry alongside English, French and Maths Methods at Warrnambool College. Aside from academics I was always involved in leadership and volunteer positions with some of my proudest achievements being the completion of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, receiving the Moyne Shire 2011 Female Overall Youth Achiever of the Year, school Vice-captain and participating in the 32 Hour Community Challenge. Upon graduation I obtained an ATAR score of 94.05, I will never forget the day I saw tears in my Dad’s eyes whilst Mum hugging me so tightly I couldn’t breathe. I am the first person in my entire wider family to go to university.

In 2012 I left the farm and moved to Saint Hilda’s College, Melbourne to commence tertiary education at The University of Melbourne enrolled in a Bachelor of Science majoring in geology. Alongside university I was also very humble to become a Mary Jane Lewis Scholar. Currently in 2014 I am enjoying my third year of study and am also concurrently completing my Diploma in French. I have been determined to maintain a high academic standard with my university studies and furthermore continue developing my leadership and professional development skills. It is in fact the Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship that has allowed me to do exactly this. The scholarship has helped alleviate the financial pressure of living away from home and with my time outside of class I am able to focus on my studies and utilise my time to pursue volunteering. During university I have completed the Student Ambassador Leadership Program 2012-2013 and am a committee member for the Earth Science Students Society. Progressing through university I have increasingly become more involved in industry related committees and professional development/networking opportunities. Currently I am a committee member for the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) Melbourne Student Chapter and as part of this committee I have attended and organised many events such as flying to Brisbane to participate in the New Leaders Conference and Mining Games, organising a Students Meet Industry night and coal mine tour and, I even got to meet George Negus. Most recently, I became the student liaison for the Women in Resources Victoria organisation. I seek to obtain vacation employment during the 2014 summer and will graduate university with a Masters in geology in 2017.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last time that I give my many thanks to the Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship Foundation for giving me the opportunity to make the most of my time at university, excel and be able to be active in committees and volunteer groups.

Anastasia Plischka

Anastacia-PLet me introduce myself! My name is Anastasia Plischka and I graduated from Warrandyte High School in 2008. It was a few years ago now, but you may also be interested to know a little about my time there.

I was awarded the Warrandyte High School Citizenship Award, Excellence in English Award and Principal’s Award. I was also nominated for a VCE Achiever Award in 2008 and was chosen as a Melbourne University Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholar in the same year. I was active within my school community, taking part in music (Melbourne and Brisbane School Bands Festival Participant as Symphonic Percussionist), the arts within the Warrandyte High School theatre production and sitting on the Student Representative Council for four years in secretarial and treasury roles and School Council in Year 12. I was awarded School Captain for my final year in 2008. I excelled in both English and Visual Communication and Design, but decided to follow a future in Science. I was also named the Manningham ‘Young Citizen of the Year’ for the Australia Day awards and Lion’s Club International ‘Youth of the Year’ and Public Speaking awardee within 2008. I further volunteered for the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal for two years and represented the Rotary Club of Warrandyte in Canberra for the Adventure in Citizenship.

Progressing to University, I entered my Bachelor of Science in 2009. I was awarded the Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship and the Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship at the time. I graduated with a major in Geology in 2011, excelling in Hydrogeology and Structural Geology. In 2012, I took the plunge and moved to England. I lived there for a year and travelled Europe for two months. Sitting on the beach in Greece I had the epiphany that I was not happy as a geologist and felt future prospects were in jeopardy with the mining climate at the time, so decided I was going to return to Australia to become an Engineer.

I started my Master of Engineering (Environmental) in March 2013, with a new direction in life. I joined the University of Melbourne Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Club committee progressing through the roles of Events Coordinator, Vice President and Sponsorship Officer. I also sat on the Women in Resources Victoria (WiRV) Committee as their Student Representative. Mid-2013 I was awarded the Aileen Sinclair Memorial Scholarship, another equity and merit based scholarship. The skills in networking I learnt in 2013 paid off earlier this year when I was offered to interview for an unadvertised position with Gekko Systems in their new role of Technical Sales Engineer. I started working for them May, whilst I finish my current semester, will take a leave of absence from study until 2015 and then will continue the rest of my degree part-time while working full-time.

Without the aid, financially and at times psychologically from the Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship and its board, I would not have been able to attend university in the first instance, let alone be where I am today. There have been times where I have struggled, but the knowledge that the board believed in me, and supported me, encouraged me not to give up. I am proud to be a Mary Jane Lewis Scholar.