Scholarships awarded to women in education in Coffs

Award winners Jenni Steffen (second from left) and Lily Neef (third from left) with BPW Education Scholarship Committee members Deb Johnson (far left), Lu Nickell, Megan George, Lyndall Weatherby (absent).

BPW Coffs Coast awarded education scholarships to Jenni Steffen and Lily Neef at Coffs Harbour Golf Club on Friday August 25, aimed at supporting their educational goals and keeping them on track to complete their university degrees.

Both have overcome adversity to be where they are today.

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Jenni Steffen, from Sawtell, who is studying her Bachelor of Nursing, won the Maude Spielvogel Scholarship.

“I have an older disabled brother, and have wanted to do nursing at an early age because of that caring role I took on, but never really thought that I was able to,” Jenni told News Of The Area.

Her favourite placements have been in Cunnamulla, working in a remote area with Indigenous people, in an Emergency Department, because she enjoyed the fast pace, and ICU, because of the critical care responsibility.

“The award makes me feel like it’s all worth it,” she said. “

Toormina’s Lily Neef, who is studying an Occupational Therapy (OT) degree at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour, took out the Wendy Martin Educational Encouragement Award.

She chose OT because her Mother worked at the hospital and her Father was ill when she was growing up, so she was exposed to the healthcare system at an early age.

“I saw the difference that healthcare workers made, especially OTs who changed people’s lives and empowered them to do the things they want to do.

“I am passionate about making a difference too,” she said.

“The award means a lot, and it will help dramatically, especially after our house fire where we lost all our contents, to help me buy new technologies to help me finish my degree and start my new career.“

The guest speaker on the night was Julie Marshall, who understands the challenges women can face when pursuing further education.

A proud Aboriginal woman, Julie’s Grandmother urged her to get a proper education.

She returned to high school, joined the police force, achieved a top ranking and then pursued a legal degree.

She is now a Senior Solicitor with the Northern Rivers Family Law Pathways Network and has instigated changes in legal systems that work better for Indigenous communities.


Guest speaker Julie Marshall, Senior Solicitor, Northern Rivers Family Law Pathways Network.

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