On the surface, Anthony Butler is a typical 23-year-old. The recent engineering graduate enjoys playing soccer and tennis, hanging out with his mates and is in the midst of job searching. What makes Anthony less typical though, is that he’s also a part-time carer for his father, Paul.
Anthony says, the experience has greatly influenced his outlook on life. “I think I’m a lot more empathetic of people’s situations and I don’t judge people based on what you see in front of you. I mean, you look at me and you wouldn’t guess my dad’s got a disability or anything like that.”
Five years ago, Anthony decided to study engineering at UTS. The decision was inspired partly by Anthony’s dad (himself a mechanical engineer), partly by his love of maths and science and partly by UTS itself.
“I chose UTS because of the two six-month internships offered in the Diploma in Engineering Practice,” he says.
“It's important to know your theory, but I found the practical work far more valuable towards my growth as an engineer. Searching for grad jobs with only casual work experience at retail stores or supermarkets on your resume isn't exactly attractive to employers,” adds Anthony.
What attracted him even more was the WJ & LM Sinclair Scholarship in Engineering. It’s an equity scholarship designed to help engineering students who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and/or are from a financially disadvantaged background. As a carer Anthony was eligible to apply.
“I found my scholarship by searching the UTS website.
“I had already decided on UTS as my uni, so it was simply a matter of seeing what they had available for me.
“The scholarship was invaluable,” adds Anthony. It meant he could focus on his studies while balancing the responsibilities of being a carer. This includes taking care of his father when his mother is out, and transporting him to and from appointments and recreational activities.
“My dad’s a keen boccia player. His highest achievements were getting two silver medals in the national championships for singles and two silvers in the doubles, in 2013 and 2015.”
With ambitions to move into biomedical engineering, Anthony hopes to one day create assistive technologies – such as prosthetics and bionic limbs – to support people with disabilities and their carers. Indeed, for his engineering capstone project, Anthony proposed a design for a device that helps mitigate Parkinson’s tremors.
He says, “I just want to help people. Simple as that. I’d like to work on robots that help people rather than take their jobs.”
He’d also like to, one day, pay his experience forward. “My scholarship really, really helped, and if one day I could establish a scholarship to help other students, that would be phenomenal.”
For more information about scholarships at UTS, visit uts.edu.au/scholarships