Alchemy - Issue 28 - Page 14

From Portarlington to Parkville “I love learning and sharing my experience. Studying pharmacy at Monash has been a great choice.” Georgina Pennefather has always been a rural student. She grew up in small towns with strong communities. She’s from a big family with a strong commitment to education, life experience and community service. So it’s no surprise she chose to study pharmacy at Monash. And it’s no surprise she’s this year’s recipient of the Thea Pärnamäe Rural Pharmacy Bursary. “I grew up near Mt Macedon before we moved to the Bellarine Peninsula, which is where I live now – at Portarlington. I love living in a rural area. And I love learning and sharing my experience. Studying pharmacy at Monash has been a great choice.” Although Georgina is the first in her family to study pharmacy, it was her family who encouraged her to pursue this path. “I loved bio and chemistry at school. My mum’s a nurse. She suggested I think about pharmacy. Mum’s dad did industrial chemistry, but always says he regrets not doing pharmacy! So I guess it’s been on my mind for some time. I work part time in the Portarlington Pharmacy. I love it. It’s a typical small rural pharmacy. Everyone knows the pharmacist by name. Everyone knows and cares for each other.” Knowledge and caring are two qualities that Georgina says her upbringing emphasised. 12 “Mum and dad always instilled in me the value of life experiences and education. Money would be spent on going places and doing things rather than cars and stuff. We also do foster care. I guess we value caring and sharing.” Georgina says studying pharmacy at Monash has opened her eyes to a world of possibilities. “I’ve wanted to do pharmacy since Year 10. I love everything about it. Being at Monash and learning from such inspiring people really is an eye-opener. I’m doing things I never thought I’d be able to do. I’m even now thinking I could go on and do medicine. If I could be at uni for the rest of my life, I would!” The Portarlington local says the Thea Pärnamäe Rural Pharmacy Bursary has provided valuable support and encouragement. “The bursary means so much. It’s taken the pressure off me financially. But it’s simply the recognition for a rural student that’s so encouraging. Going to uni has an extra challenge for students from outside the city. I really appreciate someone recognising that I do have to go that little bit further.” The Thea Pärnamäe Rural Pharmacy Bursary supports female pharmacy students from rural and remote areas. The bursary was established by Dr Kersti Nogeste in honour of her late aunt, Swedish pharmacist Thea Pärnamäe.