Workplace giving makes a difference for disadvantaged students
Petra Marschner By making donations to the staff workplace giving program through her salary each fortnight, University of Adelaide soil biologist Petra Marschner is helping bright students fulfil their dream of studying at university.
Petra started at the University in 2001 as a lecturer, and her role involves research, supervising postgraduate students and administration.
“I enjoy coming to work every morning because my work is so varied – every day is a bit different,” says Petra. “I love discussing experimental designs and results with my students – every experiment answers some questions, but also opens up new questions to be followed up.”
While she enjoys the challenge of solving scientific problems, Petra also finds great satisfaction in interacting with her students and watching them become scientists who think critically and constructively. Petra says that she was fortunate to have received a good education and knows how important this is for young people – not only to learn but also to become more confident and independent.
“Unfortunately, many bright young people will not develop to their full potential because they can’t afford a good education,” she says.
Petra supports various charities that provide education to young children who would otherwise struggle to attend school or would not excel because of their circumstances.
“When I learned that through staff workplace giving I could directly help bright students fulfil their dream of studying at the University of Adelaide, I knew that this was an area I wanted to support.”
Petra has requested that her donations be directed towards the Augustus Short Scholarships which support students who might face financial barriers preventing them from accessing a university education.
“As a teacher and supervisor, I can help students to learn but I can’t help them financially. I know that many of them struggle with their studies because they have to work to support themselves,” says Petra.
“By donating part of my salary to the Augustus Short Scholarships I can help a small number of disadvantaged students to concentrate on studying which makes me happy because I know it will open up new avenues in their life and make them more confident to succeed.”
To find out more about staff workplace giving and other ways to give back to the University of Adelaide visit: www.ua.edu.au/staff-giving
Story by Genevieve Sanchez