let's make it happen written next to an image of Cameryn

Cameryn: From dreaming big to finding her people 

Cameryn wasn't sure she would fit in when she won a scholarship to the University of Sydney. But now she’s found her voice, her place and her people.  

Cameryn Smider sits on a chair on an a deck outside her home with her laptop, smiling at the camera with a dog nearby.

Cameryn Smider wakes up at 4am to get to university – spending four hours a day on the train, from NSW’s Central Coast.

“I’m the first person in my family to go to university,” Cameryn says. “I always hoped I would go, and told my parents, ‘I’ll be moving out.’ But prices are so expensive, so I still live at home.”

A self-confessed ‘Maths nerd’, Cameryn is determined to pursue her ‘dream double degree’ – Bachelor of Science and Master of Mathematical Sciences. I love Maths – why wouldn’t you choose a degree that’s so fun?”

Cameryn initially thought that studying at the University of Sydney was a distant dream.

“I was stressed about buying textbooks, laptop, lab coat, goggles. I don’t have parents who can just pay for it.”

Then she heard about the MySydney Entry and Scholarship Scheme, which provides students from eligible lower socio-economic areas with $8,500 per year throughout their degree.

Cameryn Smider wearing goggles and lab coat with a fellow student in the lab.

She couldn’t believe it when she found out that she was successful.

“I had forgotten offers were being announced and my mum came into my room while I was sleeping and asked, ‘Did you get into USYD?’” Cameryn says. I looked at my phone and saw I’d been accepted, and I was, ‘Like wow, that's insane.’ It was a good, good way to wake up. 

“I really never thought I’d make it here. It’s kind of life changing, not to have to worry about the costs of uni so much.”

Having come from a regional high school, Cameryn found university life daunting at first. 

 “It was scary, not knowing anyone,” she says. “Everyone has a different schedule, it's hard to see people outside of classes. So, I joined the Taylor Swift Society, and I've made some like-minded friends which is great.  

“It took me by surprise, but people here are actually so nice, and really care about your story. I also have great lecturers. And I love chemistry, it's so fun. You're working with cool chemicals and weird things happen in experiments and it's just so cool that we can explain what's happening.”

Cameryn also has an eye on her future. She’s interested in teaching or pursuing research to advance Maths knowledge. 

“I think we need people who are passionate about Maths – I would like to make an impact on students’ lives and help them understand and love it,” Cameryn says. “I want to be a leader but like, in an introverted way – to apply what I’m studying to change things, even in a small way.”


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