With the goal of becoming a "transformational" leader in the classroom teaching high school students about agriculture and biology in regional and rural NSW, Nicola Hartley is set to become one of Dubbo's next generation of leaders.
Ms Hartley, a Charles Sturt University student, recently received the $3000 Dubbo Regional Council scholarship, which is offered to CSU students from the Dubbo area.
"Getting this scholarship is a great honour for me, it felt magnificent," Ms Hartley told the Daily Liberal.
"Receiving the scholarship isn't just receiving money, but it demonstrates that I am seen as having potential for the future of our society."
The Bachelor of Animal Science student said the scholarship would assist her with accommodation costs and everyday expenses.
By not taking a gap year and going straight from St John's College Dubbo to University has meant Ms Hartley's funds are limited.
"In addition, as a visual learner, I find it easier to learn by watching videos and animations," she said.
"Through receiving this scholarship, I have the ability to purchase and utilise textbooks, materials and apps to assist my visual learning and ensure that I can focus my time effectively on my studies.
"Receiving this scholarship allows me to spend more time focusing on course materials and learning to achieve the highest potential I possibly can and be more involved in the vibrant culture and community of CSU."
Ms Hartley chose to study Animal Science because it combined and further explores her interests in biology, agriculture and primary industries that she previously studied at high school. It also allows her to build on her experience with the cattle show team at St Johns College.
"I became intrigued with the agricultural industry when I began learning about it in year seven, and I am excited to learn from the lecturers at the top of their fields," she said.
She explained through the introduction of the livestock show team, she learnt the animal husbandry skills of providing beef cattle, sheep, goats and numerous poultry species with adequate food, clean drinkable water and space.
"In addition to protecting them from predators through multiple control methods, physical by trapping and chemical through baiting, and diseases and pests through proper quarantine protocols and following healthcare plans including breeding, drenching, vaccinating and crutching," she said.
"I have become invested in the agricultural industry and enthusiastically await to investigate the behavioural and physiological of an array of animals, especially livestock."
When Ms Hartley, who is in her first year of the undergraduate course, completes her university degree, she aspires to be "a positive influence" on her community with plans to continue her studies.
She would like to utilise her knowledge and skills to teach the next generation through a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) within the industry through teaching agriculture, junior science and preliminary and HSC biology in regional or rural areas of NSW.
"I desire to become a transformational leader in the classroom by intellectually stimulating, motivating and considering each student individually, in turn hopefully gaining their trust and respect and providing them with a vivid mental image of their individual long-term career or life goals," she said.
"I will use the same leadership mindset to obtain my Bachelor of Animal Science degree and then Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary).
"With this scholarship, I can complete my education to a higher standard as more time will be allocated to study than working."