Growing up more than three hours away from the nearest major hospital, Rose Booth is acutely aware of the paucity of health care services in rural and remote regions.
'I've had friends who had to travel a long way to get medical help, ' says Rose, reflecting on her home neat Hay in New South Wales. Calling herself a "country girl", she adds. 'It's a passion of mine, to go back and work as a nurse in a rural setting.'
Thanks to scholarship support from The George Alexander Foundation, Rose's dream is hearing fruition. She is in her second year as nursing and paramedics students at ACU's Ballarat campus.
Inspired by the nurses who treated her when she broke her arm as child, Rose says it wasn't hard to find the right place to study.
'I looked at lots of courses but the best recommendations came from people who had done the Nursing and Paramedics course at ACU. They couldn't speak highly enough of it.'
While Rose had the drive and determination needed to pursue her studies, she knew it wouldn't be easy on her and her family. 'Financially speaking, studying has been hard on me and my parents, so I was on the lookout for a scholarship that might help us get through it.' She says support from the Foundation 'has made a great deal of difference — even more than I expected.'
That difference goes beyond helping her buy textbooks. The scholarship has also enabled Rose to spend time serving disadvantaged communities. Last year she went to Battambang, Cambodia, as a volunteer for Challenges Abroad and gained valuable nursing experience working in a health clinic.
'It was wonderful to be able to help them out and it was a great eye-openers for me not only personally but professionally.'
In addition to her work in the clinic, Rose contributed to community education by running information days about personal hygiene, food preparation, signs of malaria and other health issues.
Keen to gain as much experience as she can to make a difference on communities in need, Rose is an great example of the hopes George Alexander had for the Foundation's scholarship recipients. George's believed in the notion of 'planting seeds and hoping they would grow into pretty big trees'. For students like Rose, there is plenty of fertile ground. Those seeds are just what she needed to pursue her career as a nurse and, ultimately, help others lead healthier lives.
First published as 'Sowing the seeds of opportunity' in ACU Donor Report