This year was huge for the FDN. We were very proud to have awarded three scholarships to the worthy recipients, Lauren Pearce, Joseph Babana and Pita Siganisucu. As part of the scholarship program, we partnered each recipient each with an experienced mentor who kindly volunteered their time to talk to, encourage and share their experiences with the scholarship recipients.
Narelle, Sean and Karen each played an important role in supporting their mentees through their first year of university. Having a mentor means you have someone to turn to, to ask questions, to gain insights; someone to talk to who has been in the exact same position as you.
Having successfully completing the first year, we took the opportunity to catch up with the mentees and their mentors and thought we would share their experiences with you.
Joseph and Sean
Joseph is completing a Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales. Joseph was mentored by Barrister-at-Law and former student of St Gregory’s Campbelltown, Sean O’Brien.
Joseph and Sean chose to meet over coffee and discuss all things university as well as career options and their passion of sport. Joseph was able to gain another perspective from a person who has “been there and done that”. Joseph has learnt many things from Sean and quotes “he has imparted his wisdom and experiences to help me choose the right decisions”.
Sean has equally enjoyed being a mentor to Joseph. Sean feels that Joseph has gained “an insight into the functioning of the wider community and grown in confidence about his ability to participate by contributing his skills, talents and ideas to its positive development”.
Lauren and Karen
Lauren is completing a Bachelor of Arts with majors in English and Australian Literature at the University of Sydney. Lauren was mentored by the Head of Marketing Operations at Woolworths, Karen Madden.
Lauren and Karen used FaceTime, email and telephone to contact each other and tried to catch up whenever possible. They talked about Lauren’s progress at university and how to minimise stress as well as Lauren’s involvement at various events. Karen attended Lauren’s talk at Your Path to Sydney at Revesby and at the Sydney Writer’s Festival in August.
As stated by Lauren, the mentoring program has given her a “lot of confidence” knowing that she could ask Karen questions regarding university. “I took her advice to join a club at university and I became part of the Literary Society. I’ve met some amazing people, and several weeks ago I was elected to their Executive Board. I would not have done this without Karen’s nudge to get involved”.
Narelle and Pita
Pita is completing a Bachelor of Health Science (Sport and Exercise Science) at the University of Western Sydney. Pita was mentored by former high school teacher, Narelle Alvaro. Narelle was a high school teacher in South West Sydney for 32 years and is former student of Ashcroft High in Green Valley.
After meeting in person and talking over the phone, Pita and Narelle communicated mainly by emails. While sport was a common link, Pita would ask Narelle questions about university and he quotes “It allowed another source of encouragement and help” during his first year of university.
Narelle found helping the FDN through the mentoring program a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Narelle is particularly pleased to have been a mentor to Pita, one of the initial Scholarship recipients.
We would like to personally thank the mentors for participating in our mentoring program and hope we have established long-term mentoring partnerships. Lauren, Joseph and Pita performed exceptionally well this year and we congratulate them on their adjustment to university life.