Guest speaker Angie Redfern, a 2016 Long Tan Bursary recipient, gave a fantastic speech to the 2018 Long Tan Bursary recipients, their families and members of the ex-service community at the presentation event in Perth on Friday June 22. We wish Angie all the best as she pursues her career.
Guest Speaker – Angela Redfern
Good afternoon Ladies, Gentlemen, generous donors, award recipients and guests.
First of all, I’d like to thank the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Australian Veteran’s Children Assistance Trust for inviting me to speak today and for supporting me over the past three years. I am honoured to speak to you today about how the Long Tan Bursary has made an exponential contribution to my life.
My father’s service in Vietnam was cut short by a truck accident. He sustained a number of injuries and was placed in a wheelchair. He had numerous skin grafts, a full ear reconstruction and eye replacement. He currently has 4 bolts in his skull holding his face together. Whilst this might sound a little gory, hearing my father tell this story is what initially sparked my interest in the medical field.
I am currently in my final year of Anatomy, Human Biology and Physiology. Whether it is a simple lecture, or a 7-hour lab (which occur much more often than I’d like), I usually spent 3-4 days per week at university. In saying that, I am extremely passionate about what I study and could not be happier with my time at university. In receiving the Long Tan Bursary, I no longer had to worry about the financial burden of buying a laptop, textbooks, or even just going out for coffee with my friends. This is all a product of the support I receive from AVCAT which extends far beyond financial value.
It is this support that allows me to give back to the community in ways the Long Tan Bursary has given to me. Aside from my studies, a typical week for me involves teaching swimming at Swim for Refugees, volunteering at Princess Margaret Hospital (now Perth Children’s Hospital), and mentoring new international students through Unimentor. The Long Tan Bursary also inspired me to become a Fairway ambassador, helping year 12’s who live rurally, or who are financially disadvantaged to obtain the ATAR they need for their chosen university course.
Studying, whether that be at TAFE or university, can be extremely strenuous on your physical and mental health. These extracurricular activities keep me grounded and give me peace of mind when the inevitability of exams creep in. My ability to maintain such a busy schedule was not random, it is brought about by the security and motivation that comes from being a recipient of the Long Tan Bursary.
The most pivotal thing that the Long Tan Bursary has allowed me to do is apply for internships. If I didn’t have support from AVCAT I would not have been in a financial position to even apply. I have just completed a surgical placement at Southbank Day Surgery in South Perth. This opportunity has by far been the most informative experience of my life, learning patient care, theatre set up and of course the surgeries themselves. At the conclusion of my placement, about two weeks ago, the CEO of Southbank Day Surgery offered me a job. It is truly a dream come true and I could not be more grateful to AVCAT for allowing me to receive that placement and by extension a job.
Finally, a piece of advice to the recipients of the Long Tan Bursary; I urge you to make the most of your scholarship by pursuing every opportunity presented to you, whether that is volunteering, work experience, or a weekend down south with your friends.
Congratulations, and thank you for listening.