By Sarah Collier

Rachel Dickson didn’t think her life would lead her from Terang in South West Victoria to Vancouver in Canada. She’s currently studying a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University, and completed one of her semesters abroad. “Coming to the end of my degree makes me think back. The last three years have been beyond anything I ever thought it could be,” Rachel said.

Now in her final year, Rachel was one of the 2021 recipients of the Gardiner Foundation Jakob Malmo scholarship. “I love how Gardiner supports the community and it’s nice to be a part of something like that.”

The Gardiner Foundation Scholarship, valued at $10,000 per year for three years, is available for students embarking on their first University or TAFE course. This initiative reflects Gardiner’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of professionals who will play a pivotal role in the development and progress of the dairy sector.

“I applied because the scholarship was empathetic of the primary producing background. A lot of scholarships only look at the stats and don’t see that we still need help,” Rachel said.

Rachel is no stranger to farming, growing up on a 750-cow dairy farm. She’s worked on the farm ever since she was little, showing dairy cattle. “I’ve been to Dairy Week every year since 2014 except last year during covid and when I did my exchange,” Rachel said.

She has also worked on a large-scale dairy operation near Manchester in the UK. “I always knew I wanted to do something with livestock and animals. Doing a gap year reaffirmed my decision,” she said.

After completing her second year at University, Rachel studied a semester abroad at the University of British Columbia, Canada. “I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do my exchange without the scholarship. It allowed me to explore my study exchange to the fullest. I didn’t have to worry about being able to pay rent or afford food because I couldn’t work while in Canada. Without these funds, I would not have had the experience I did, and I’m very grateful for it,” Rachel said.

Prospective students who share a passion for the dairy industry’s success and wish to be part of the positive transformation in rural communities are strongly encouraged to apply for the Gardiner Foundation Scholarship.

“The scholarship gives you the flexibility to not only move away from home, but to make sure you’re able to live the experience. Having the support to go and do something that was different like an exchange was amazing and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Rachel said.

“My goal of completing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine following this degree remains unchanged. I plan to complete an internship next year within the Animal Health sector, to explore the industry outside of clinical veterinary practice,” she said.

To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates must exhibit a genuine dedication to pursuing a career that directly contributes to the enhancement of the dairy industry or the well-being of dairy communities. This represents a unique opportunity for students who are not only seeking academic excellence but are also keen on making a tangible difference in the lives of those living in rural areas.

Applications are now open and close on Monday, 20 November 2023. To apply and for more information, please visit the official Gardiner Foundation website at

Completed applications must be submitted to