Gardiner Dairy Foundation has awarded tertiary scholarships to three rural-based Victorian students pursuing careers that will benefit the dairy industry. The scholarships demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the Gardiner Dairy Foundation by investing in future leaders of the Victorian dairy industry.

Winning recipients Owen Cumming, Lee Forrest and Samantha Conn will each receive $5,000 per year from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation to contribute to the costs of relocating to pursue their tertiary education.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation funds the scholarships to attract, retain and develop young people towards careers that directly benefit the dairy industry and dairy communities.

Successful recipients are selected by a panel of industry experts and based on specific criteria including their academic commitment, personal achievements, community involvement, as well as their potential to make a positive contribution to the Victorian dairy industry.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, Mary Harney said the winning applicants represented the promising future of dairy in Victoria.

“Studies show that young people in rural areas are less likely to apply to university due to greater barriers to participation such as distance and increased costs of living. Our tertiary scholarship program helps to alleviate some of the financial pressure that these students experience.

“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation is proud to congratulate Owen, Lee and Samantha as this year’s scholarship recipients and we wish them well in pursuing their interests and contributing to a stronger dairy industry,” said Ms Harney.

Owen Cumming from Sandy Point, South Gippsland was dux of his high school and is enrolled in a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science at Monash University. Mr Cumming will pursue his passion in solving environmental issues in the dairy industry.

“I really look forward to developing my interest in finding solutions that address environmental challenges faced by the dairy industry such as nutrient leaching. I am grateful for the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s contribution towards my education as it provides the support I need to pursue a career where I can contribute to Victoria’s dairy industry in the future,” said Mr Cumming.

Lee Forrest from Huon, near Albury Wodonga has a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of people in rural communities and will allocate the scholarship funds towards a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.

Samantha Conn is from a dairy farm in Hedley, South Gippsland and is enrolled at Deakin University, studying a Bachelor of Commerce. Ms Conn will use her degree to pursue a career in small business servicing the farming community of South Gippsland.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation has funded tertiary scholarships over six years supporting students across a range of courses including human health, science and engineering, humanities, vet sciences, business and agriculture. In total, over $392,000 has been committed by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, leading to 29 students pursuing careers that will ultimately benefit the dairy industry in Victorian communities.