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Year 11 Student Experiences University of Queensland Agricultural, Science, and Technology Program

Mt Maria College, Petrie student and de Marillac House Vice-Captain, Kiera Saunders, recently completed the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science & Technology (FEAST) program after receiving a bursary to support the cost of her attendance.

The five-day residential program, open to students in years 11 and 12, is held at UQ’s Gatton campus and aims to inspire high school students into science careers in the agriculture, animal, plant, and food industries.

Keira was successful in her application to receive one of a limited number of UQ bursaries, after she submitted a personal statement about her study goals and how the bursary would help her achieve them.

Speaking about Keira’s successful application for the bursary, College Pastoral Leader Mr Pat Webster said: “It is no surprise to me to hear that Kiera is kicking goals in the field of ag-science, and it’s wonderful to see her flourish in a field that she loves so much.”

As a participant of the program, Keira lived in the Halls of Residence at the Gatton campus during her stay. She met other students with similar interests and participated in hands-on activities and workshops relating to current challenges faced by scientists including climate change, biosecurity, feeding the world, and protecting endangered wildlife.

Keira’s mother, Mrs Amanda Saunders talked about her daughter’s ongoing love of horses.

“Keira has always had a love of horses and she is passionate about studying equine science at UQ Gatton when she graduates school,” said Keira’s mother, Mrs Amanda Saunders.

“Her interest in horses was initially sparked by her horse-riding trainer back when she started riding lessons in Grade 3.

“Since then, she helped to set up the College’s agricultural program and equine club when she first joined Mt Maria – and also undertook her work experience with Ryans Equestrian Training and Breeding centre based in Newcastle.

“She ultimately wants to complete a master’s of education program, however, her chosen study path includes completing a Bachelor of Equine Science along the way,” Mrs Sanders concluded.

Meanwhile, Keira recommended the program to anyone interested in science or agriculture.

“I had such an amazing experience and participated in animal anatomy and structure sessions, animal production experiences, and learnt how a fully-operational dairy works,” Keira said.

“It was great, and I made some new friends along the way.”

If Keira is accepted into a Bachelor of Equine Science at UQ Gatton, she will dedicate three years to preparing for a career working with horses to improve their training, welfare, performance, and management.