Get to know Shantelle Jeyakumar
Tell us something about your upbringing
Cultural pride and diversity have always been core principles of my upbringing. As a biracial woman, my family always taught me to embrace my culture, appreciate others and live a life of service. My most distinct memories from my upbringing are the Christmas family gatherings. For this celebration, everyone would bring a dish, often a traditional dish, that we would share whilst a multitude of many different genres of music played in the background and our elders would tell stories about their lives before their journeys moving to Australia.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
For as long as I can remember, my goal in life has been to positively impact the world, regardless of the career I chose. When I was younger, I wanted to be a lawyer so that I could fight for peoples’ rights and freedoms. As I got older, I became drawn to a career in healthcare, due to the unique position that healthcare workers are in. I see healthcare as a career whereby I could directly improve a person’s life due to my knowledge, being in the fortunate position to help others when they are unequipped to do so.
What did you learn about yourself in high school?
In high school, I learned the true extent of my mental toughness and determination. Throughout every stage of my high school career, I found my competitive nature drove me to achieve goals that often seemed out of reach. However, it was not until my final two years of high school that I learned the importance of self-care and cost-benefit decision-making. As I strived to be accepted into a medical course, I knew the discipline and determination that would be required. Subsequently, through trial and error, I learnt how to prioritise my time for the people and activities that brought me joy whilst never losing sight of my goals; culminating in success both in school and engagement with my community.
Why did you apply to be a UWA Fogarty Scholar?
I applied to be a UWA Fogarty Scholar because my values aligned with the core ethos of the Fogarty Foundation and as such, I wanted to become a part of the Fogarty community. Furthermore, beyond relieving financial constraints, being a UWA Fogarty Scholar allows me to continue engaging in leadership and volunteering roles (both within UWA and the wider community), whilst opening the door to new and exciting opportunities.
What are you studying and what do you like about the course so far?
I am currently studying Integrated Medical Sciences via the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) with an assured pathway to the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Although I haven’t completed any ‘dental’ units yet, I have loved learning about the anatomy of the human body and how our various systems within the body work together to form a functioning human.
Tell us something you love about UWA.
The vibrancy of the UWA community is something that I love. On the few days that I attend campus, I often engage in various activities and events organised by different clubs and Guild Organisations. I appreciate the opportunity to meet new people and love the diversity of students that attend UWA.
Have you enjoyed any Scholars events, if so, which event and why?
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the events organised thus far, especially the Scholars Breakfast as I was able to network with many current Scholars and Alumni.
What do you look forward to in Semester 2?
As the majority of my Semester 1 units were online, I am looking forward to commencing Semester 2 face-to-face and meeting more people. I am also looking forward to engaging in labs and workshops, for the medical science units, that will allow me to better my laboratory skills. Outside of class, I am excited to coordinate social events as a member of the Women’s Guild and facilitate the Fogarty Futures Leadership Conference.