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Flowers to feet: Kelli's journey to university success


Anne-Louise Brown
8 July 2015

Kelli Cahill’s journey is an unusual tale of flowers to feet.

Though the Southern Cross University third-year podiatry student admits petals smell better, she would not change the path her later-in-life career change has brought.

On Thursday 9 July), Ms Cahill’s hard work and dedication will be rewarded when she is awarded the Feros Care Podiatry Scholarship at the University’s Rising Stars Gold Coast scholarship presentation.

“I left school when I was 15 and started floristry straight away. I owned my own shop for 25 years but decided I wanted to complete my education and enrolled in Southern Cross University’s Preparing for Success Program,” she said.

“After I finished I knew I wanted to do something different and I had a real interest in podiatry so I enrolled in the foundation class and haven’t looked back,” said Ms Cahill, who has a GPA of 6.14.

“I’m a single mum and seeing me study has inspired my son and daughter to work hard to achieve their goals. It can be a hard juggle but it’s all worth it and I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve done.”

The $5000 scholarship has allowed Ms Cahill to buy textbooks and expensive podiatry tools, which she will be able to use in her next endeavour – another business.

“When I finish at the end of next year my dream is to open a small podiatry practice of my own,” she said.

“I’ll put the business skills I used as a florist to good use again.”

The Gold Coast scholarship ceremony will see 20 students – new and continuing – from across the University’s Schools and Colleges awarded for their dedication to study.

Southern Cross University’s Rising Stars Scholarships are worth more than $250,000 and supported by the University and 36 donors including individuals, businesses and community groups and trusts. Scholarships and prizes vary in value from $500 to $25,000.

The University continues to attract new donors. We are grateful to the following organisations for coming onboard for the first time in 2015 to support our students in realising their dreams:

• Richmond Valley Council (Lismore campus)
• Optus Business Centre Northern NSW (Lismore campus)
• Baringa Private Hospital (Coffs Harbour campus)
• Connecting Southern Gold Coast (Gold Coast campus)
• Huawei Technologies Australia (Gold Coast campus)
• Feros Care (Gold Coast campus)

Rising Stars Scholarships ceremony details:

- Gold Coast: Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre on Thursday July 9 at 2pm.

- Coffs Harbour: Osprey Restaurant on Thursday July 23 at 2pm.

A range of Rising Stars scholarships is offered each year and all students are encouraged to apply. While the selection criteria may differ, all Rising Stars Scholarships are designed to recognise academic achievement, community involvement and leadership.

They encourage student success as well as support students with demonstrated financial or other disadvantages. Equity scholarships specifically support students who have experienced disadvantage.

The 2016 round opens July 1.
Photo: Scholarship recipient Kelli Cahill in the Podiatry labs at Southern Cross University's Gold Coast campus.