Cohuna student Sharna Hagendoorn has been announced as one of seven successful tertiary scholarship recipients from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
Currently studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, Ms Hagendoorn said she planned to transfer into a doctorate of Veterinary Medicine after completing her three-year undergraduate degree.
‘‘The Gardiner Foundation scholarship will help with my costs, particularly with accommodation in Melbourne, which is very expensive,’’ she said.
‘‘It will definitely ease the financial pressure on me.’’
Ms Hagendoorn said she planned to major in animal health and disease and to go on to work with large animals — cows and horses — in a small rural town.
This year the foundation has increased the number of awards handed out annually from four to seven, with the three new scholarships awarded in honour of the late south-west dairy farmer Niel Black.
Mr Black, who was involved in a number of aspects of the dairy industry, left a bequest to the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, part of which will support a tertiary scholar from each Victorian dairy region.
He was a founding partner of the DemoDAIRY research centre in Terang and was an advocate and supporter of the United Dairy Farmers of Victoria for more than 50 years.
‘‘Niel always generously shared his knowledge with newcomers and actively supported the development of young people,’’ Gardiner Dairy Foundation chief executive officer Dr Clive Noble said.
The four other scholarships are named in recognition of services to the dairy industry by Shirley Harlock, Jacob Malmo, Bill Pyle and Doug Weir.
Scholarships are awarded to students from Victorian dairy regions who are commencing study in 2019, with each scholar receiving $10000 annually over three years to contribute towards costs associated with their studies.
The Gardiner Dairy Foundation Tertiary Scholarships are awarded to students who have been accepted into a course that will benefit the Victorian dairy industry or dairy communities and encourages students to return to the dairy industry after they graduate.
Dr Noble said a diverse range of skills were needed to ensure the Victorian dairy industry and dairy communities were resilient and adaptable.
‘‘Dairy communities need high level skills in all areas of dairying as well as in essential areas such as health, education and finance. However, there is a huge cost for students associated with relocating to undertake the higher education and training required to develop these skills,’’ he said.
Applications for 2020 Tertiary Scholarships will open in August.