Sian Fennell is a young woman in a hurry.
As the first person to complete the Queensland Academy for Health Sciences’ three-year International Baccalaureate program in just two years, as well as the first person from Queensland to make ten consecutive national cross-country championships, she’s a high achiever who’s used to balancing academia and athletics.
The 18-year-old’s latest achievement is to be awarded a prestigious Vice Chancellor’s Elite Scholarship to attend Bond University.
Miss Fennell, who moved from Wollongong to the Gold Coast with her family two years ago, said securing the scholarship to Bond fulfilled a long-held ambition.
“I always wanted to study at Bond, I want to go into medicine, and currently I’m doing biomedical science, by taking the Vice Chancellor’s scholarship, it means that after I finish my biomedical science degree I can go into second-year medicine at Bond, and that makes it possible for me to do my second degree here as well, which in other circumstances wouldn’t be possible.”
Miss Fennell’s career goal is to become a rural doctor, inspired by an aunt who works as an indigenous nurse in a regional hospital.
As a child, Miss Fennell used to follow her aunt around the ward and hear her talk about patients and medical procedures that were unable to be carried out because staffing numbers were insufficient.
Her passion for medicine is matched by her desire to continue learning.
“I’ve always loved the sciences, I want to be a life-long learner, and medicine is one of those careers where you can make a difference in people’s lives. You’ve always got to be learning as a doctor because there’s always new diseases but also new treatments, so you’ve always got to be striving and wanting to study and be hungry for that kind of thing.”
Miss Fennell entered the Queensland Academy for Health Sciences in Year 11, leaving her only two years to complete the three-year International Baccalaureate.
She felt the pressure of having to catch up on a year’s worth of subjects such as French, chemistry, biology and psychology, which she achieved with support from her teachers and parents, stood her in good stead for the future.
“The growth and resilience I built from being the only person to have caught up during that year, and to have struggled through that and six hours of study a night, that was all valuable.”
Miss Fennell matches her efforts in the classroom with her efforts on the sports field. An accomplished athlete who specialises in the 800 and 1500 metres, she’s also won five Queensland state cross-country titles, as well as New South Wales medals while living in that state.
She plans to continue to juggle her studies and her sport while at Bond, believing the two complement each other.
“I used to go on my runs, and I’d be memorising my essays during that time.
“I think I’m more successful with my time management skills when I’m running, I feel as if I’m more productive.”
Other Gold Coast students to receive Vice Chancellor’s Elite Scholarships to Bond University are Aidan Kitchin (The Southport School), and Michaela Wilson (A.B. Paterson College).