Celebrating Scholars’ Week at UON

Thanks to a scholarship funded by Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Jennifer Collison is just months away from graduating with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours), and realising her dream of helping people engage in life to the full.

“I can’t imagine anything more rewarding than having the chance to make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis,” says Jennifer.

Surprisingly, Jennifer never intended to study Occupational Therapy. As soon as she finished school, she hit the books to gain a Bachelor of Economics from UON. She’d thought her career path was clear – get a quality education, break into stakeholder management with government and private sector clients, and aim to run her own business one day. Jennifer achieved all her goals at a break-neck pace. And yet, she couldn’t ignore a niggling feeling of dissatisfaction.

“I realised that I didn’t want to keep climbing the corporate ladder – it wasn’t for me,” Jennifer explains. “So I did some life coaching, and occupational therapy really stuck out for me. It was a career that would allow me to work on the ground, directly with individuals to add value to their life and to the wider community.”

Jennifer jumped bravely and enthusiastically into her new career path, despite the challenge of balancing family life and studies. When she received the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Allied Health Scholarship, she was overjoyed. The scholarship not only eased Jennifer’s financial pressure, but also gave her the opportunity to work alongside the Cerebral Palsy Alliance on a clinical placement that explored community-based occupational therapy.

“My clinical placement with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance was an amazing opportunity. It gave me a taste of working in the disability sector, and I loved it.

Now in her fourth and final year, Jennifer is looking forward to graduation and starting her new career in occupational therapy.

“People always say to me “it’s amazing what you’ve done!” and that surprises me, because I just did what felt right. I think it’s really important to do something you enjoy, and invest into your community.”

Are you a UON student in need extra support in your studies? You may be eligible to apply for a scholarship.

Thank you to all our generous donors who make our scholarship possible.  If you’re interested in funding a scholarship that changes lives, please call +61 2 4921 7453 or email uonfoundation@newcastle.edu.au


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