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Lauren with community in her sights

By November 9, 2020No Comments

Lauren is a proud Muruwari woman from Molong, near Orange in Central West NSW. After completing year 12 at Molong Central School she took the leap and left home to take on further study. She went on to successfully complete her Bachelor of Vision Science and Masters of Optometry at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Lauren always dreamed of returning to the rural areas that she loves so much, and in 2017 made her way to Parkes and Forbes in Central West NSW to put her qualifications to good use.

To me, being able to make genuine connections with the people in your own community, to be able to do your part to make a difference in their lives and to see the change you can make is an extremely rewarding thing

Alinta Energy – CEF Community Alumni Champion

Master of Optometry

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Local Foundation:
Country Education Foundation of Orange & Districts


Outside of her work as the principal optometrist at Eyewear Specs in Forbes, Lauren works passionately in the community to deliver services to patients unable to access them otherwise. These are just some of the reasons why Lauren was the perfect choice for our Alinta Energy – CEF Alumni Community Champion for 2020:

  • A member of the Rural Doctor’s network.
  • Conducts outreach clinics across the Central West with Brian Holden Foundation.
  • Provides eye care services to schools and in nursing homes.
  • Sits on the Early Careers in Optometry Committee (NWS/ACT)
  • Co-chairs the rural and regional sub-committee of the Early Careers in Optometry Committee (NSW/ACT).
  • Sits on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Advisory Group for Optometry Australia.
  • Visiting Fellow at Queensland University of Technology lecturing on culturally safe services.

In 2020, Lauren was awarded the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Eye Health Hero Award, something she says was “a massive shock” and felt honoured to receive the award from Optometry Australia, the professional body for her industry.

If this wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Lauren is also undertaking her Masters of Public Health (Indigenous Health and Wellbeing) with the University of New South Wales, and still finds time to play hockey with friends and go fishing along the Lachlan River.


Lauren remembers being so excited to receive her grant in 2012 from CEF Orange & Districts, as it meant she would be able to buy her first textbooks, which as a first year, meant “so much to her.”

Having the support of a local organisation, not just financially, but emotionally and socially is very reassuring

She says the support that CEF provides to rural and regional students is so important. The need to move away from home and the unique financial and social struggles can be very hard, and she knows this first-hand.

Since reconnecting with CEF via the Alumni group, Lauren says she didn’t realise just how much the foundation had grown since receiving her grant nine years ago, and encourages her fellow alumni to get in touch and be involved with the great work that CEF is doing.

For the foundation that gave this little country eye nerd her first real scholarship and to consider me worthy of an alumni award, is very humbling.

Author nicole

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