Winners for Oct 2015 – Changing the World

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Alyce Atkins.The results for the round ending October 2015 ("Changing the World") are now finalised. The winner of the scholarship round is

  • Improving Neurological Medicine by A. Atkins.

Ms Atkins gets a no-strings cash award of $2,000.

We hope she makes good use of the prize to further her ambitions to contribute to medical research.

Runner-Up Entries

Based on the judges' scores, 4 runner-up entries were determined. Each receives a cash award of $200. The runner-up entries for this round are:

  • Changing nurses
  • The Warmth of Reprieve
  • Life...
  • Born for a Purpose


The winning and runner-up entries were chosen by a 5-person panel, consisting of:

  • Dr Andrew Lancaster (founder of UniCurve)
  • Jason Scott (Bloomberg reporter)
  • Sandra Lancaster (school teacher)
  • Bernadette Smon (communications consultant)
  • Richard Snabel (Group Director, Building Queensland).

Each judge chose their top 5 entries from the shortlisted entries (which have all been published on this site). Scores were assigned (5 for the top entry, 4 for second, 3 for third, etc) for each judge's selections. Scores were then added to decide the overall winner and runner-up entries.

Improving Neurological Medicine

~ by A. Atkins, who is studying for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree with the University Of New England

Have you ever been told that your rare and progressive neurological condition has no specific treatment protocol? I have.

Have you ever been told that your only hope to slow the progression is a harsh chronic treatment regime consisting of high dose steroids and cytotoxic drugs, usually reserved for oncology patients? I have.

Maybe you've been told these things, too. I know I'm not alone in my trials and that’s what sparked my passion for the biomedical sciences and medicine.

Neuroscience is such a young science with many discoveries waiting to be made. I believe that passionate, driven minds can make all the difference to the future of medicine, allowing us to uncover the keys to many of our rare and debilitating neurological illnesses.

Online study has been a huge blessing, allowing me to pursue my passion while managing my health as well. Currently, it would be impossible for me to study full-time on campus. But I am able to manage and stay focused from home with my online degree. This gives me everlasting hope that I will be able to reach my goals, continually dream bigger, and improve neurological medicine for future generations.

Changing Nurses

~ by Sonja, who is studying for a Bachelor of Nursing degree with Charles Darwin University

The plane comes in and the nurses leave again. They can't wait; they have just spend 3 months in my small town. The new nurses will be here soon just doing their time.

  • They won't know that the old indigenous fella doesn't speak much English, but his niece does and they don't know to call her.
  • They don't know where things are that first week, when the car rolls over and the young girl from the city is in bad shape and the RFDS plane is waiting.
  • They don't know that the old bushman is allergic to codeine, because he said it was cocaine that made him crook, when he broke his hip as a young man.

I can't head to the city to get my nursing degree; my life is here. But thanks to online study my university is in my kitchen and when the time comes I'll be the nurse that knows that the girl in the spinal collar will have to wait 6 hours before she'll be cleared. I'll know who to ring when the guy with the infected leg hasn't shown up for his dressing change.

My town needs resident nurses; I want to be one.

The Warmth of Reprieve

~ by Scott Nodwell, who wants to study for a Graduate Diploma in Psychology with Monash University

I study to help those around me, the silent, the downtrodden, the angry, the stoic, the sad, and the invisible. There's nothing more powerful than sharing a journey and offering respite, compassion and regard to one's fellow. I wrote this while working with Perth's homeless youth. I hope this will suffice as my essay submission:

To Last

Kind eyed, bare feet,
Tatters of hair and clothes.
Un-lined face, perfect smile,
Whippet thin, waif-keen.

Standing tall for one so small,
But shy, so shy of life.
She has led me through
Slum and broken alley.

My mind from its ruts,
My hands from crossed arms.
My heart from its brittle shelter.
My eyes from blinkered run.

She was the world
To the parents she lost,
To the brother who died,
To the place she knew.

Her new family have grown
Around her, lost together.
They are the youth unseen,
Unknown, unsought, unsupported.

To look at them one must say
I know! I feel! We fight for change!
And secretly hope while they play
That this child, at least, will last the day.


~ by Jonathan Bonnet, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science (Criminal Justice) degree with the University of Phoenix

My screen pops open politely but stares at me with eyes of antagonism. My face whiter than the ghost of Julius Caesar. My finger tips are callous and rough from my 12 hour shift. They gently rub my face from the tip of my forehead down to the stubble on my chin. I had no time to shave today let alone write a paper.

The paint on the backspace key is beginning to fade from the amount of times its been abused and pressed. What am I doing? What time is it? Oh god, I have to work in a few hours. I need to maintain this GPA.

I sit at my desk in my room looking for strength. I turn and see my pregnant wife and daughter laying on the bed asleep. Wow, its 1 a.m. I walk over to my little girl still in her frozen slippers. She always refused to take them off. I remove them, then gently rub her hair. My eyes focus on her and for a brief moment in time I stop and remember why... Isabella, baby this is for you and your baby brother Noah. These days are for you. I love you guys.

Born for a Purpose

~ by Paulisha Townson, who wants to study for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with the University of Phoenix

I am writing you today to tell you about how I plan to change the world with my bachelor degree in Nursing.

26 years ago on a cold January morning, I was seriously burnt (over 20% of my body). My body was in shock, so, thankfully, I felt no pain for some time. I do however remember the sound of my own flesh falling to the floor – something I wish no one experiences. As a 7 year old, that was a lot to handle.

The nurses who took care of me went above and beyond the call to make me comfortable and happy. One nurse in particular took my order every morning for what I wanted for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Little did I know this nurse went out and bought / cooked whatever I asked for. If you are wondering what it was I had asked for, oh just the typical 7 year old cravings: Lucky Charms, pizza, chocolate pudding and cheese popcorn.

These great nurses are the reason I am a LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) now. I would like my nursing degree so I may be able to work in the pediatric burns unit and touch young children's lives, like my life was touched and forever changed those many years ago.

Chilly Career Change

~ by Loccy, who wants to study Nursing with Charles Sturt University

In 2009, an opportunity was presented to me that would possibly change the course of my life.

As a tradie, I was southbound to Antarctica for a year-long adventure, but it was a two-week adventure in Hobart prior to setting sail that was set to rock my world.

As part of a lay medical team selected to assist the one doctor on our station, I was sent to a hospital for two weeks of theatre nurse training. Little did I know that, for the first time in my whole working life, I was to feel the immense sense of job satisfaction that being a nurse can provide.

It has taken me this long – and a baby in between – but now I'm ready to undertake training to head on this journey to a complete change in career. I'm so excited and looking forward to what the future brings!

Changing the World through Online Education

~ by Jackson Jones, who is studying for a Bachelor Communication (Public Relations) degree with Swinburne University of Technology

Online education has changed my world. Without it, I may never have developed the skills, knowledge and confidence to begin realising my goals. In 2012, I developed a concept for what I would call Creation Road. It would be used to encourage, inspire and empower others around the world.

To this end, I completed online diplomas in editing, publishing, freelance journalism and project management through Australian College. This would help me hone the skills I needed to get started.

Soon after, I began interviewing CEOs and producers from the entertainment industry, as well as neuroscientists and entrepreneurs on matters of creativity—what it is and how it has impacted their lives. Creation Road quickly gained thousands of online followers.

I wanted to increase Creation Road's footprint even more, so I enrolled in an online Bachelor Communication (Public Relations) degree through Swinburne Online in 2014. There I have received two academic awards and hold a current GPA of 3.38/4. I want Creation Road to be huge!

Winning this scholarship would allow me to pay for my next unit, and give me the freedom to develop Creation Road even further—to reach more lives and change their worlds.

Life Conservation

~ by Bennie Hale, who wants to study for a Bachelor of Environmental Science degree with the University of Phoenix

I have always been passionate about the conservation of the complex and mesmerizing life on this planet, specifically marine life.

I feel that I am here in this life, at this time, for a purpose and I believe that this purpose is to help bring our world back to a state of prosperity in nature.

I have enrolled at the University of Phoenix to learn all that I can about environmental and biological conservation. I work full-time in the Health, Safety and Environmental department at a turbocharger manufacturing plant and I am also a single mother, so this will not be an easy journey by any means.

But, I am willing to overcome any challenges to become a professional conservationist to help this planet. The Earth provides us with everything we need to thrive; it is only right that we protect and respect it and my hope is that this degree will help me make that happen.

Changing the World

~ by Jennifer Lopez, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies degree with the University of Phoenix

I am currently attending an online school to help me achieve my life-long goal of becoming a school teacher.

Growing up, I had several teachers who had such a positive impact on my education journey, which affected the way I felt about school. Unfortunately, I also had the misfortune of being taught by teachers who did not have the same passion a goals as the truly great teachers. Once I got older, I realized that it was the truly passionate teachers who leave the lasting impression on young minds.

My way of giving back to society in a positive way once I have obtained my degree is to be the kind of teacher that inspired me to want this profession.

  • I want to be a positive role model to my students and give them every possibility they need to be successful in school.
  • I want to provide an encouraging environment with the hopes of challenging intellect and making learning a constructive and fun task.

As a parent myself, I want to give my students the type of teacher I always hope my own children will have, a teacher that is friendly, loving, and, most of all, dedicated to her students.

The Right Choice

~ by Sofie, who wants to study for a Bachelor of Psychology degree with Deakin University

I am an ambitious person, but also a realistic person. Knowing that further education is the best way to a secure future is the easy part, but choosing to do that study years after finishing school is a whole different matter. It’s a scary prospect, going against the grain and doing something people will tell you is very difficult, not worth it, and too stressful. But deep down, you still know it’s the right thing for you and your future.

Nothing in life is easy; and the things we treasure most are the ones we work hardest for. Nobody has ever made profound change in the world, whether it be their own personal world, or on a larger scale, by taking the easy route. We all want what’s best for ourselves and our loved ones, but it’s important to think bigger, and try to see how we can make the lives of others better at the same time. Every little bit helps.

I am excited about the prospect of being able to study online, something I have been looking forward to for a long time, at the same time as working during the day. I look forward to the day where I can graduate and say that I did it all while working and looking after my family.

Success and No Debt

~ by Marlie Jo, who wants to study business online at the University of Phoenix

Growing up my family was never rich, but we weren't poor. We always had the necessities and were grateful for them. In my early teens, my family had to file for bankruptcy. It was a stressful time in life, we sold a lot of things and moved out of our home, just as many others at the time had too, and I remember thinking "I don't ever want my family to experience this."

I've recently decided that I want to study Natural/Alternative medicine. My heart is in opening an herbal and whole-foods store where people can come and buy what they need to improve their health.

I'd never thought about what it would take to do this until I researched it. Thousands upon thousands of dollars, just like any other college degree. My goal for life is to be debt free, to not have thousands of dollars in student loans.

Going to an actual college building is great, but it doesn't allow the luxury of working full-time and taking classes full-time, like online college does. This scholarship would help me fulfill my dreams of not only opening my own business, but also of steering clear of student loans.

Changing My Future And Theirs

~ by Paige, who wants to study for a Certificate IV in Government (Investigations) with the College for Law, Education and Training

Brown fur dull, covered in dirt. Bound tightly in a heavy chain, under the rusted shell of a once dearly loved Chevrolet. Tongue parched, stomach growling, bugs itching all over. Hot, dry, bored.


Alert, quivering, hiding. Chain rattling, must stop quivering! Boots stop by a dried out bowl. Dust rises as they turn toward the car. Flies buzz as hands reach down, chain taut, body rigid. But wait…

The voice is different, softer, gentle.

A face appears, blue eyes with delicate features. The voice is inviting, a treat is offered. So hungry, but still unsure.

4 weeks later. Footsteps!

Pressed against the cage door, straining to peer down the corridor. Dogs barking, quivering, excited. A person appears. Tail wagging, eyes glistening. A quick exchange is made, a lick to a hand.

The coat is clean, the stomach is full, the flies are gone. The animal welfare inspector smiles, happy to have saved a life and to have changed their world forever.

Gratefulness for the chance to achieve the qualification that led to this job, this moment. Achieving my goal of becoming an Animal Welfare Inspector in the Northern Territory requires Certificate IV in Government (Investigations), through online study.

Time Traveller's Guide

~ by Timothy Carnovale, who is studying Bachelor of Heritage, Museums & Conservation with the University of Canberra

Change the way a culture sees itself and you change the world, slowly but surely. Museums can change the way a culture sees itself by curating that culture, by holding up mirrors and saying “these are your precious objects, your ancestors, these are your consolations, your heart and soul, these are your time machines, explore them”.

Since I was a boy, my shed has always been my own personal museum, but now through studying Heritage, Museums & Conservation, I am developing those skills learnt at my dad's workbench so that I can work in the great galleries and museums of the world (which are really just big shiny sheds). Changing the world by slowing down the rate of change of precious artefacts, so that many, many more generations can enjoy and explore them.

And because of the tyranny of distance that Australia has always faced, a museum's online presence is just as important as its physical presence. The clicks have become just as important as the bricks. Learning online with the University of Canberra has shown me the enormous possibilities of cultural institutions in the digital age.

Living a Grateful Life

~ by Robert P. Eells, who is studying for a Master of Arts in Education (Primary) with the University of Phoenix

Currently I am studying online to obtain a teaching license in the state of Hawaii, which will qualify me to teach in elementary school as a special education teacher. I have taken courses online previously. However, this time it's a master's degree program, so it's serious.

At 63 years old, I tell myself that this is the last time I will attend a university so it had better be good. My "secret weapons" are my accumulated knowledge and access to the web. Using online study I can literally sit in my home in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and dream big dreams again.

It has been a wonderful experience for me to study online and I am extremely grateful. At the same time, online classes have enabled me to do substitute teaching in the daytime at local elementary schools. I started teaching as an undergraduate at L.S.U., in Louisiana, then again in Japan. Hawaii is now my home state.

At this moment in time, I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade places with anyone else on Earth. That's what I mean by living a grateful life.

Society and Online Studies

~ by Alison Grimes, who is studying Psychology at the University of Phoenix

I have been attending online school for some time now and it has really surpassed my expectations. I always used to think I was not determined enough to be successful with online classes. Granted, I have had setbacks. The great part is, even with the setbacks that I've had, I still feel there is hope for me to be successful with online schooling.

I am currently going to school to be a substance abuse counselor. When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time in and out of rehab facilities trying to get a hold on my life while I still had a chance. Today I am five-years clean and happier than ever. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to change my life early before it was too late.

My goal in life is to help other young teens to fight their addictions early so that they can have a great, successful life. I have lost numerous friends to the clutches of drug addiction simply because many people brushed it off as "a phase". It is not a phase! These young teens need our help!

I believe deep down in my heart and soul that the young really are our future. Our society is quickly becoming selfish, greedy, and pretty broken. I think if young teens battling serious issues like drug addiction can get the help they need, this is a great step in the right direction so as to improve our future society as a whole.

All in all, I just want to do my part to help the world and society as we know become a better place. Finishing my schooling is my first step to helping our society grow in a positive direction.

Changing the World, One Child at a Time

~ by Jaimezim, who wants to study for a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree with Deakin University

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World

Nelson Mandela.

Using the words of one of the most inspirational men in Africa, I hope to utilize the opportunity that technology has afforded us by doing a degree in teaching online. For many of us in Africa, access to a good tertiary education is not only costly, but improbable due to lack of facilities. Online education is changing that, and if I am lucky enough to be able to continue my education online, I will ensure that I pay this gift forward to those who are unable to access even online education.

My family and I have started an early learning center as well as an afternoon education program for children on a small farm in Zimbabwe. If I am able to gain a degree in education I feel that I can add value to these centers. My goal is to educate as many children as I possibly can and will be dedicated to ensuring that the children of my community are given the opportunity to go to school.

I intend to encourage the older children to pursue tertiary education online and often give advice to them on free tertiary programs.

Improved education will bring a better standard of living to the people of my community and, in my lifetime, I hope to be able to look back and say, I was a part of this improvement and not just a bystander.

Online or Nowhere

~ by Alistair, who is studying for a Bachelor of Information Technology degree with Deakin University

As a father of four, I thought my chance to participate in higher education had been well and truly missed. After a redundancy put me out of work and I became a stay-at-home dad, I decided to search for a qualification to help my future job prospects.

I was a little surprised and more than a little excited to discover the possibility of earning an entire degree from the comfort of my own home. Having four kids to feed, clothe, bathe, and transport meant that attending a campus was an impossibility for me. Online study provided me the opportunity to schedule my study around other obligations, making it the perfect solution.

Now that I’m completing my first semester, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The resources and support provided to online students by my university have been incredible. The teaching staff have been swift in responding to my enquiries, and seem to go out of their way to ensure the course content is accessible and engaging for online students.

I can’t recommend online study highly enough. I have nothing but positive things to say about it.

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