The valuable guidance she gained from being part of The University of Queensland’s Young Achievers Program has inspired second-year student Kylie Cochrane to help others reach their goals.
Ms Cochrane was a Young Achiever during 2010 and 2011, and is now one of more than 40 volunteer mentors in the Program – building the ambitions of selected high school students.
Launched in 2009, the UQ Young Achievers Program helps raise the tertiary aspirations of deserving secondary school students who may not otherwise have considered university as an option.
Originally from Chinchilla, in the Darling Downs area, Ms Cochrane said being in the Program motivated her to study education and return to the country after university to teach at primary schools.
“Being a Young Achiever has shaped my entire future. It made university not as scary and I still contact my mentors from when I was in the Program if I have a question or am confused about something,” she said.
“All the friendships we’ve made with other Young Achievers through Years 11 and 12 have continued on to university, and we never would have met each other if it weren’t for the Program.
“Being a mentor for the Program is so inspiring. The most important thing to me was giving back to UQ for giving me the opportunity to be a Young Achiever.”
Young Achievers receive $1000 annually to support them through Years 11 and 12, and those who transition to UQ receive a $6000 per year scholarship for up to four years.
They also receive practical support including career planning, advice on study options, and on-campus experiences, as well as the mentoring by UQ students.
Mentor Kyle Cumner grew up in Lowood in the Lockyer Valley and had his first taste of university life at the Young Achiever residential camp at the St Lucia campus in Year 11.
He said the Program brought him out of his shell and this was something he now enjoyed helping students achieve as a mentor.
“I like sharing my experiences with the students and I know with some of the shy and timid students, I was exactly like that or even worse,” he said.
“I was great friends with my mentors and we chatted all the time. I hope I can have the same relationship with the students I’m now mentoring in the Program.”
The students in the Program come from a wide variety of backgrounds and regions including Ipswich, the Darling Downs and South West Queensland, and most of the students will be the first in their immediate family to study at university.
UQ commerce student Tim Seng is a mentor for current Young Achievers who also live in the Lockyer Valley, having been raised in the small town of Laidley.
“My advice to the students is ‘don’t give up and just give it a go’. I found the first semester of uni hard, but I stuck it out and did it, and I’m still here,” Mr Seng said.”
The focus of the Young Achievers Program is on nurturing and developing participants and building their educational ambitions by providing opportunities for social development, academic enrichment and personal growth.
The Program is jointly funded by UQ and a number of generous donors.
Media: Caroline Bird, UQ Communications, 07 3365 1931 or firstname.lastname@example.org