- Juggling family, work and study earns Blue Mountains resident the University Medal
- Charles Sturt’s flexibility and progressive approach makes aspirational study possible
- Medallist advises ‘nurture the relationships with the people who support you’
The perseverance of a student with a young family and job who wants to radically change careers has earned him the University Medal when he graduates at Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt).
Mr Bonham is a mature age student who grew up in the Blue Mountains, lives in Hazelbrook, and works as a physiotherapist in St Clair in western Sydney while studying part-time and full-time for four years to become a physicist.
Married with a family of three small children, one of which was born after he started his degree, Mr Bonham said he has great pride and satisfaction with being awarded the University Medal.
“I started this degree to see if my pipe dream of becoming a researcher in physics was even possible,” Mr Bonham said.
“I studied a Bachelor of Science with a double major in physics and mathematics, and I also did subjects outside of the major in computer programming, statistics, chemistry, and biology.
“It was hard and fun, however, to become a physicist requires a lot of postgraduate study, so this is only a step towards my goal.”
Mr Bonham said he chose to study at Charles Sturt because of the flexibility it offered him as a student with a young family and a job.
“Charles Sturt University’s progressive approach to education made it possible to begin pursuing my dream of becoming a physicist and allowed me to balance the competing demands of my family and professional commitments,” he said.
“I want to say a big thank you to all my lecturers, to my wife Jillian for her unbelievable support over the last four years, to my three children for the motivation they provide, to my parents for free car rentals, and to my boss Brigita who offered flexible work arrangements.”
Mr Bonham’s advice to other students is to enjoy the process of learning, even during the stressful times.
“I can only comment on what worked for me, but success requires the support of the people around you, so be sure to nurture those relationships,” he said.
“Work hard to maintain your health, and be prepared to study at some pretty weird times if you have significant family and work obligations.”
Charles Sturt Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Ms Jenny Roberts said Mr Bonham was a worthy recipient of the University Medal due to his sustained high-level scholarship while juggling family and work commitments.“I congratulate Mitchell for his career-changing ambition and motivation, and wish him every success in the future,” Ms Roberts said.