“Do the hard thing. Be persistent, and remember ‘natural talent’ doesn’t define success, determination does”.
This is the advice Dr Ceridwen Boel gives to young country students unsure about what to do after school. With a degree and PhD in areas that most people can’t even pronounce, Ceridwen recalls being “thrilled beyond belief” to receive a grant from the Country Education Foundation’s Yass Foundation in 2008.
With the support of her community, Ceridwen completed a Bachelor of Archaeological Practice (Hons) and Doctor of Philosophy (Evolutionary Biology/Palaeoanthropology), receiving a myriad of commendations, awards and accomplishments along the way.
Like many young people who receive support from the Country Education Foundation (CEF), Ceridwen says it was more than financial aid. “It felt like a high vote of confidence in me and my abilities, and it gave me a sense of achievement and encouragement during one of the hardest transitional periods of my life”.
She currently works as a research officer at the University of New South Wales, in the field of palaeo-proteomics, examining proteins extracted from ancient bone and what these can tell us about past populations and the diseases which impacted them.
For the moment her work means living in Sydney, but she knows this doesn’t mean she can’t give back to the community that supported her through her studies, and it certainly doesn’t disconnect her from the country. She still participates in archaeological digs and last year she was back in Yass for an excavation. She also volunteers with the State Emergency Service.
Ceridwen hopes her work will have a lasting impact to people all over the country and is proud to be part of research that emphasises work with regional communities.
She is the perfect choice for the inaugural Origin Foundation CEF Alumnus of the Year Award. Achieving on both a national and international stage, Ceridwen is passionate about her work and has a strong desire to mentor young women interested in science and research. She says, “reconnecting with CEF was, for me, a powerful reminder of where I’d come from and just how much I have achieved over the last 11 years – and how much I have to give back”.