Make someone smile: support students on placements

Macquarie University 
Petra Langen-Stark 
& sons Hudson and Sawyer
6 September 2017
Petra Langen-Stark pictured with her son Sawyer

There can be challenges in being a student, like balancing your study load with part-time or casual work and other commitments. But for some students, that balance can sometimes be impossibly hard to achieve.

Take, for example, our University’s Medicine and Health Sciences’ students. They undertake intensive clinical placements that may require additional travel or expense, contributing to financial stress. But imagine adding disadvantage, a background of under-privilege or unforeseen family hardships to that scenario – and the stress can be overwhelming for those students trying to complete their studies.

The MQ Health Student Support Fund serves to reduce these stresses for students in need – for example, students like Petra, pictured with her son Sawyer, who undertook a Doctor of Physiotherapy while parenting two children, one with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

Petra says she has “always wanted to make a difference”, but when her son Sawyer was diagnosed and her goal became to help him walk, she was inspired to take action and retrain as a physiotherapist.

However, the new direction and additional study meant there were times when Petra says she could have dropped out. “Being supported by the University to complete her studies helped,” says Professor Patrick McNeil, Executive Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“For students like Petra and others, support from our University community can facilitate travel and accommodation costs for intensive clinical placements, and can help provide essential IT and study equipment, or a range of other support options,” adds Professor McNeil.

“Having clinical placement sites close to home was very important to me,” says Petra. “I would not have been able to complete placements that required long commutes away from Sawyer.”

If you are in a position to help, consider donating to the MQ Health Student Support Fund. Donations towards this fund will directly reduce the financial pressure that some students experience and ensure that they complete their studies.





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