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Inaugural scholarship awarded in honour of beloved lecturer

Monday, 30 October 2017


Those who knew Doreen Collyer knew her as a selfless, passionate and faultlessly professional friend and teacher who cared for everyone. She constantly pushed herself to be the very best and instilled her enthusiasm for life in everyone she met. Others came first without fail.

The tragic death of Mrs Collyer was felt throughout continents. Her friends, family, colleagues and students in both England and Australia were devastated to hear of her fatal shark attack in June 2016.

Graham Last, one of Mrs Collyer’s students at the time of her passing, set up a funding page to honour her memory. A community banded together to contribute in any way they possibly could. Everything raised from lemonade stands, team fitness challenges including a Rottnest Swim Team formed by the ECU nursing school, participation in an iron-man event and many more wonderful initiatives went towards raising money in Mrs Collyer’s name. Many embarked on a journey of strength and endurance to achieve their goals.

The tremendous combined effort has resulted in the creation of a $3,000 scholarship to help a student achieve their dreams. Awarded on a needs based assessment, the scholarship was created to help a nursing student improve their learning experience whilst honouring Mrs Collyer’s significant contribution to ECU.

Mrs Collyer’s daughter, Sarah Foo-Ryland, remembers her mums’ tenacity and determination despite all odds. Mrs Collyer was resolute in her ambition to become a nurse. With two small children in tow and no prior qualifications, it was a battle to be accepted into tertiary education. It took some convincing, but she was granted access to study by the then-Dean of ECU. She gallantly fought against challenges to achieve her goal to assist others, and succeeded. At the time of her passing she was a respected and adored senior nursing lecturer in Paediatrics studying towards her Doctorate.

Ms Foo-Ryland knows her mum would be immensely proud of what has been created to make a difference in the life of someone in need. “My mum is my superhero. Fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse was a seemingly impossible task, but she fought with everything she had. She was only able to reach greatness because against all odds someone saw something in her; and gave her a chance. That’s what we want to achieve with this scholarship, to give a little help at the right time to someone who demonstrates the same passion, drive, and commitment as my mum” said Sarah.

Bianca Meschiati is the perfect candidate to receive the inaugural scholarship. Like Mrs Collyer, Ms Meschiati is a single mother of two who switched careers to achieve her passion for helping sick children.

After seeing the amazing care given by nurses after spending time in intensive care with both of her daughters soon after their birth, Ms Meschiati realised she too wanted to help children in need. Similar to Mrs Collyer, Ms Meschiati is bravely overcoming challenges in her determination to become a nurse.


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