VCE Premier’s Award for High Achieving Student

6 August 2021

Year 12 student Eliza O’Sullivan has received one of the State’s highest academic honours, a 2020 Premier’s VCE Award for Extended Investigation, which she undertook as a Year 11 student last year.

Head of Girton Grammar School, Dr Clayton Massey, said that Eliza had worked hard to achieve an outstanding VCE result in Extended Investigation, especially given the research constraints that had to be overcome in 2020.

“Eliza’s Extended Investigation centred on how to address rural doctor shortages in the Loddon Mallee Region.

“Her research entailed contacting all 28 Loddon Mallee secondary schools for input, which was complicated during COVID-19 lockdowns last year.

“Nevertheless, Eliza’s research has helped to build an understanding of the factors that are associated with rural students’ interest in a medical career. This will inform intervention to strengthen interest from these students and increase their applications to university medical courses.

“Eliza’s research is important because greater enrolment of rural students into medical degrees may improve the supply of graduate doctors to the regions,” Dr Massey said.

In February this year, Eliza was one of only four Victorian students to be selected to present at the 2021 Top Talks event as part of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA) Season of Excellence at the State Library of Victoria. The prestigious Top Talks event showcased exceptional oral presentations from VCE Extended Investigation students. Now the recipient of a VCE Premier’s Award, Eliza is more motivated than ever about achieving health equity in Australia.

“I wanted to do something practical that makes a difference to the people in our region.

“It is an honour to receive this award. I am really grateful to all the schools who participated at such a busy time last year.

“One of my research findings was that completing medical work experience is very significantly associated with interest in a medical career. However, students in small towns are having trouble accessing it.

“The focus now needs to be on making sure that medical work experience is available for all students, including those in small towns,” she said.

Eliza is the 24th Girton student in the past 12 years to receive a Premier’s VCE Award.