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Louise Donohue (Bachelor of Science ’20)

Last year we launched The Queensland Commitment – our ambitious goal to disrupt educational disadvantage by removing barriers facing talented Queensland students aspiring to study at UQ.

We want to ensure that by 2032, all Queensland students accepted to UQ have the support – financial, academic and personal – to overcome any challenge standing in the way of their studies.

Louise (Bachelor of Science ’20) is a second-year Doctor of Medicine student and past Young Achievers Program (YAP) scholarship recipient.

Louise was in Year 10 when she first considered university – no one in her immediate family had attended before.

She was on a work experience placement at a local real estate agency in Darling Downs when a teacher told her about the nomination to become a Young Achievers scholar. She had never heard of the program.

“I was incredibly shocked. I was unsure why a university as large as UQ could look at my application – my hopes, dreams and aspirations – and think I was worthy of such a fantastic opportunity,” Louise said.

She said finding out she was accepted into the program was a moment she’ll always remember.

“I was on my way home from school with my mum and sister, we were about to turn down our driveway, but there was the corner of this big, yellow envelope sticking out of the mailbox,” she said.

“I was too nervous to read it, so my mum did. With both excitement and nervousness for what the future would hold, she told me I had been accepted into the program.”

Louise wasn’t sure what to expect. She was nervous about relocating to Brisbane and always knew there was “nothing more important than living in a rural community”.

Her school guidance counsellor reassured her that “the move didn’t have to be forever and that [she] could gain skills to come back and support [their] local communities”.

Two years on after working in the agricultural manufacturing industry, and at a remote hospital in the town of Quilpie, she’s now on her path to becoming a doctor – an opportunity she said she “definitely would’ve missed out on” if she didn’t receive YAP support.

“This scholarship really set me up for success in my final years of high school and throughout university. It is different from just financial assistance – it fosters community mindedness and giving back,” Louise said.

“It allowed me to create great connections with people who were current UQ students, as well as peers in high schools across the state. It gave me a point of contact when I came to university, and the opportunity for me to develop my own leadership and communication skills as a mentor to the upcoming cohorts. It has connected me with job opportunities to continue to support myself during and after the scholarship ended.

“It gave me both the tools and foresight to pursue a university-supported career that will be useful to the communities I return to when I graduate. I’m not sure that I would’ve attended university if I didn’t receive the scholarship, and I wouldn’t have attended UQ. It wouldn’t have been feasible for me to relocate to Brisbane without the scholarship.”

With need-based scholarships, critical pathway programs and accommodation support, students like Louise are empowered to excel in their studies and are provided with meaningful experiences that improve their overall time at university and beyond.

“Words can’t describe how grateful I am for the support and how significantly scholarships like this can change a student’s life,” Louise said.

“Donating to a scholarship like this is investing in other people to help extend that reach of making a difference. Your donation may be a pebble in the ocean, but the ripples caused can make waves.”

To support students like Louise, make a difference with your gift to The Queensland Commitment Fund.

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