Medical Student Scholarship recipient - Taylor Edgley

AMA Queensland Foundation Medical Student Scholarship recipient and 3rd year JCU medical student, Taylor Edgley, was forced to leave school during Year 12 before returning at 21 in her pursuit to study medicine. This scholarship money will enable Taylor to reduce her working hours while still having the financial stability to finish her medical degree with Honours.

Born in Townsville to a working-class family, Taylor Edgley experienced grief, loss and learned the value of determination from a very young age.

Despite her dreams of becoming a doctor, she was forced to leave school during Year 12 before finding work as a website developer.

“I was 12 when my world was rocked by my father’s passing after a gruelling battle with cancer,” Taylor said.

“Thrust into the unforgiving reality of being a single mum, my mother worked to make ends meet while I grew up quickly, caring for my brother when she wasn’t home.

“My grief and stress caught up with me in Year 12 and I dropped out of high school.”

After a challenging decade, Taylor’s mum gave her the confidence to return to high school at 21. This opened the door for her to complete a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences which she achieved with a distinction.

She was then accepted into medicine at James Cook University (JCU) where she is now a third-year student, maintaining excellent academic progress despite working two jobs and volunteering for a student-run surgical club.

“I’m inspired to study medicine by the doctors who worked around the clock to keep my dad comfortable,” she said.

“Even though they weren't able to cure him, seeing the way they were able to comfort him and comfort my family through knowledge stuck with me.

“And when my mum was unwell with lymphoma, the sense of direction that her doctors were able to provide her with was so comforting to her, and I really saw firsthand that impact that they had.

“Moving forward into my career, I really hope to do the same for my own patients.”

Taylor has been heavily inspired by her experiences. Seeing the support her parents received by surgeons sparked her interest in surgery, but growing up in Townsville enhanced her appreciation for rural generalism.

“I've grown up in Townsville pretty much my whole life. Having been here for so long, you go to the shops, you see everybody you know, and you really get to know everyone,” she said.

“I think the rural generalist lifestyle of really immersing yourself in that community - seeing people, seeing neighbours and knowing your neighbours - that really appeals to me.

“I also really enjoy getting a hands-on experience. I know rural generalism is the sort of career path where you get to do a lot of extended practice, so you're learning on the job, you're dealing with limited resources, and you have to be quite inventive. That is really exciting for me.

“To do that while also helping an under-served community is just a huge bonus.”

Taylor is finally able to imagine her future in the profession through her placements and involvement in a student-run surgical club.

“Every single year of the degree we get to do quite an extended placement somewhere. My first-year placement was in Adelaide with an obstetrician, where I got to follow him, go to the hospital, watch him do caesarean sections, and even assist with the birth,” she said.

“As a first-year medical student, it just blew my mind that patients would let me come into the room and put that level of trust in me. That was such a privilege that I don't think I was expecting to receive so soon in the degree.

“And every single time I've gone away from a placement, I've just thought – oh my God, this is what I want to do. This is amazing."

She plans to use the scholarship money to complete her studies with Honours, achieving her dream of becoming a rural generalist with Advanced Skills Training in surgery.

“This scholarship money is going to be such a drastic change to my life. Just to be able to reduce my working hours, not necessarily eliminate them, but reduce them to a point where I am having a little bit of free time,” she said.

“I hope to do Honours, but it is an overload, so it requires doing extra subjects on top of your core subjects. I've spoken to a couple of people who do Honours, and they generally say you cannot work during it, and that's been a really big barrier for me, just not knowing if I'd be able to financially support myself during that time.

“So, the scholarship is an excellent nest egg that I can put away for Honours. It gives me a lot of confidence now that I can actually do that as part of my degree.”

End of financial year tax appeal 

For every story like those of Wylie, Taylor and Goachagorn, there are students who also need support to finish their studies. 

The Foundation is hoping to offer three or more Medical Student Scholarships in 2025 with your support. We are seeking donations through this year’s End of Financial Year tax appeal – all donations are tax deductible. 

There is also the option to name a scholarship in your or your organisation’s honour. Please feel free to contact us at should you wish to discuss this worthy option. 

The donations received via this 2024 EOFY Tax Appeal will be exclusively directed to the Foundation Medical Student Scholarships program. Every dollar that you donate will assist a medical student in a time of need. AMA Queensland Foundation is about Doctors Doing Good. 

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