Two lions represnting the wildlife scholarship available to Charles Sturt students.

Kindness comes full circle with a undergraduate student scholarship

The benevolence of a family grieving for their daughter has provided a life-changing international study experience for Charles Sturt University student Kaitlyn Weller. In turn, it has inspired her to help others with an undergraduate student scholarship.

A Bachelor of Veterinary Biology / Bachelor of Veterinary Science1 student in Wagga Wagga, Kaitlyn took part in wildlife conservation programs in Africa through Charles Sturt Global.

“Late last year I spent two weeks in Zambia and Zimbabwe participating in conservation research and education programs,” Kaitlyn said.

“We monitored the behaviour and social interaction of the Dambwa lion pride. This was as part of the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT). The aim is to see how the cubs, born from captive lions but raised by the pride, behave in the natural environment. To then see if we can release them into the wild.

“A highlight for me was being part of the conservation education programs that ALERT runs in the local community.

“The smiles on the children’s faces is something that stands out. It was amazing to be able see how happy, grateful and appreciative they are with how little they have. It changed my outlook on life and made me value my educational opportunities even more.

“I want to volunteer to be part of more programs with a purpose. Programs that are able to help others, whether that’s people or animals.”

A meaningful contribution

Kaitlyn’s trip was made possible by one of two Charles Sturt Foundation scholarships honouring the memory of Alexandra Catherine Henderson. Alexandra was an equine science student who tragically died in a farm accident in Western Australia in 2017.

Alexandra’s family subsequently established the annual scholarship fund to give Charles Sturt University students who are passionate about animals the opportunity to undertake international work placements.

“The undergraduate student scholarship has allowed us to provide Ally with a meaningful legacy. It benefits students doing the work that she had planned to do, inspired by her own experience in Zimbabwe with wildlife and children,” said her mother Ms Dorothy Henderson.

In March 2017, Alexandra spent time at Antelope Park in Zimbabwe. There she was able to work with horses and wildlife as part of a rehabilitation program.

Alexandra thoroughly enjoyed her time there. And she was preparing her own application to return to Africa via the Charles Sturt Global Africa Experience. She wanted to have a positive impact on the world. By enabling other students to learn and do the work she wanted to do herself, her family will be able to enable her goals to be fulfilled even though she is not here to savour them.

The difference an undergraduate student scholarship can make

That generosity at a time of grief has made a world of difference to Kaitlyn.

“Last year it was financially difficult. So receiving the scholarship made the whole trip possible. As a result, I was able to extend my stay for a week to gain more skills and be a part of an amazing community,” Kaitlyn said.

She’s now encouraging her peers at Charles Sturt to also broaden their horizons by undertaking international study experiences like the program in Africa.

“It may sound like a cliché but it really is life-changing. You will gain so much, whether that’s researching or being part of the effort to educate kids. It’s all so worthwhile,” Kaitlyn said.

Make a difference – with an undergraduate student scholarship

University scholarships can make a huge difference to your Charles Sturt University experience. Explore the options available to you and apply for financial support today. Don’t rule yourself out!

1Cricos: 068968D