Burgmann College WEB 80

Steph Evans' Story

Overcoming obstacles to better the lives of others

Steph Evans ocean square
New Beginnings Flexible Bursary recipient Steph Evans
Steph Evans square

I grew up in Sydney with my parents, two siblings and dogs. I loved the ocean and animals, so I founded the charitable organisation Seas of Change at the age of 10.

Seas of Change was an Australian organisation that raised funds and awareness for various marine and environmental conservation efforts, including dugongs, sea turtles, climate change and plastic pollution. I ran school talks, fundraisers and events in Australia with the team, with one of the main focuses being to empower youth to take a stand for their environment and homes by sharing advice and mentoring other young people.

As a part of Seas of Change, I spoke at public and Catholic schools in New South Wales and at numerous events internationally, and worked with various international charities, attended a dugong research trip, spoke at local and state parliaments, was a mentor for young leaders internationally, etc.

Unfortunately, I was involved in a plane accident in 2019 when returning from a trip to Canada for Seas of Change which has resulted in both physical and mental consequences. This accident vastly changed the outlook of my life and shifted my goals and dreams. I stopped my work with Seas of Change as of January 2023 due to it no longer being sustainable with my injuries.

Now, I am studying law at the ANU. I chose to study law as I believe it is the best career to enable me to help people. Since the accident, I’ve decided that I'd like to specialise in compensation law for aviation accidents and abuse law, as I'd like to use my experiences to help others.

I moved to Burgmann for my second year of on-campus living on the recommendation of Aunty Dr Anne Martin at the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre, and I am much happier living on campus since moving to ANU! I love it here; the community is amazing, the fellows and staff are so kind and giving, and it's just such a welcoming home away from home.

For me, Burgmann has made my life easier as it's a lot more accepting when it comes to needing some extra assistance due to my disabilities. I've loved living with my friends from my courses and extracurriculars (like the ANU theatre) and making new friends through Burgmann's programs, like the Burg play.

The New Beginnings Flexible Bursary is truly life changing. Having the conditions I now have from the accident results in very expensive medical bills, and I was really struggling to make ends meet; trying my best to work two jobs, yet just hurting my body further by doing so.

This Bursary means I can pay my medical bills without having to think twice, never having to skip important appointments because I can't afford them. It also means that I can focus on getting better and putting my energy into my studies, as I don't have to stress as much about work and finances.

Burgmann is an incredible College, one that students like me would not have access to without these programs. I solely support myself from work and scholarship money, so Burgmann would not have been a feasible option for me without financial assistance.

Having such a great College be accessible to more students is truly amazing. It enables new voices to be heard, and have new faces given a chance to thrive who would not have otherwise.

To the donors who contribute to the Burgmann College Bursary Fund: Thank you! Your donations create life-changing opportunities, and I could not be more grateful.

Steph Evans
New Beginnings Flexible Bursary recipient