Old Flinderian Mallibu Burke (Class of 2022) Awarded TJ Ryan Highly Commended

Old Flinderian Mallibu Burke graduated with the Flinders Class of 2022 and is studying Medicine at the University of New South Wales. 

In this Beyond Flinders Profile Mallibu shares how she jumped at the opportunity to pursue her dream course, even though she had started down a different path! Mallibu also reflects on her schooling journey with some advice for our Seniors on how to make their time at Flinders count.

Earlier this year, Mallibu received an esteemed TJ Ryan Highly Commended award to recognise her academic excellence and outstanding leadership in her school and community. 

This is a significant achievement as each year in Queensland there are only up to 10 TJ Ryan Memorial Medal and Scholarships awarded and up to five Highly Commended awards to support exemplary students to pursue tertiary studies.

Other Flinders graduates to be named TJ Ryan Medallists include Kristina Lane (Class of 2018), Peter Tilleard (Class of 2013) and Amelia Johnstone (Class of 2000).

Q&A Beyond Flinders Profile with Mallibu Burke

What does life look like for you now?

I am currently a full-time Medicine student of the University of New South Wales at the rural clinical school in Wagga Wagga. 

What was your favourite Flinders moment?

Pink Week 2022!

Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Flinders?

A person who really inspired me at Flinders was Secondary School teacher Mrs Cossell. Apart from teaching me Chemistry, Mrs Cossell always demonstrated the importance of giving 110% to every endeavour whether it be on the court, on the field, in the band, doing study, helping someone out or doing something for yourself - because giving everything you have will significantly improve your performance and productivity. 

Also, Mrs Cossell showed me the importance of enjoying what you are doing and how powerful motivation can be when you do something that brings you joy. I always saw this in how hard she worked for her students — nothing was ever too much of a hassle, even when she was probably balancing a million other things. Mrs Cossell is a natural leader and I try to apply these lessons everyday by aiming to give everything 110% with a smile on my face. 

How easy was it to decide what to do in life?

Not very easy initially, but I knew very early on in school that I wanted to work in the health industry and work with people. Honestly, I chopped and changed many times until about Year 10 when I aimed to become a doctor.

What advice do you have for current students?

My journey getting into my preferred course wasn’t exactly a straight path. I didn’t get the offer I wanted in the initial rounds so I was ready to carry out my Plan B. 

I moved to Brisbane into a residential college and was going to study my second choice of degree, hoping with dedicated studies I could transfer afterwards. 

However, in the middle of the chaos of uni’s Orientation Week, I received a call and was offered a position in Wagga Wagga, which is a 15-hour drive from the Sunny Coast. The next morning I moved out of the college (which I had moved into a few days before), said goodbye to my newfound friends and was on the road. I arrived in Wagga Wagga and have not looked back, embracing my new life out of school and studying my dream course. 

What I can tell students still at school is that you won’t all know exactly where you will end up after high school, but don’t worry too much. Just put the work in and you will see the results. 

Also, make the most of everything at Flinders; the sport, music and academic experiences are truly extraordinary and you may not have all of those wonderful opportunities when you leave school. 

Finally, enjoy your years at school with your friends, be grateful to all the people who support you everyday and don’t forget to thank them. 

Can you describe the process of applying for the TJ Ryan award?

Applying for the TJ Ryan award was a simple process that involved me submitting a nomination form, a resume, some references and my school reports. 

I was fortunate to be selected as the Flinders nominee from my cohort and received amazing support from both Mr Davis and Mr Meade in my application. 

While there was a fair amount of paperwork involved, it was an easy process that I would definitely encourage future graduates to complete if they are selected for the opportunity. 

Thanks for sharing, Mallibu! To read more Beyond Flinders profiles, visit here.

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