Eleanor is a 23-year-old young lady from Mount Barker in the South West of WA. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at UWA Albany Campus. Eleanor is passionate about science, especially climate change, marine biology, environmental science and conservation. She is working towards a double major in conservation biology and marine science. Eleanor intends to create a model which can predict extinction rates in marine environments relevant to previous similar extinctions.
Eleanor suffers from a severe physical disability, spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA 1). She receives a disability support pension from Centrelink but finds the cost of living and educational expenses quite difficult. As a student living in a rural area the cost of transport is expensive and additional costs are for scientific textbooks.
Eleanor is also studying further units through the University of New England NSW. She needs to travel to NSW twice a year over the next 2-3 years for assessment and testing. Due to her disability flying is not possible. She needs to be driven with her Carers at considerable cost.
While Eleanor does not have a lot of options to work at the moment she hopes completion of the degrees will allow her greater scope for the future.
Eleanor loves palaeontology. 2016 she took part in the Australian Geographic Australian Opal Centre paleontological fossil dig in Lighting Ridge NSW. This was a huge financial, physical and emotional effort. Even though this was a challenge on all fronts she loved the experience and is glad she was able to overcome all the obstacles to make it happen.
Eleanor has many things she is proud to say she has achieved. If she had to pick one it would be the event Trash Talk. She directed Trash Talk for a science communication unit she completed last semester. She liaised and co-ordinated presentations and several stalls. The event went off with great feedback on how good it was and how much other students got out of the event.
Eleanor hopes that she can be an example to other young people who suffer from a disability to pursue their dreams. She refuses to let her disability define her and always wants to find a way to help her achieve her dreams.
“I am extremely happy to receive the YAL scholarship this year as it will be of great financial help. I will now be able to pay for my university units without worrying about the cost. This will be of benefit to me as I plan on taking some correspondence units through the University of New England in the next couple of years, and they will be more expensive because of the travel costs. I will also be able to purchase some new items to use both in my studies and everyday life such as an iPhone and laptop. I also intend to buy and train an assistance dog to help provide care for me and provide me with more independence. The assistance dog will be of great benefit in other aspects of my life such as my volunteer work with the community garden.”