Oliver McGrath

Oliver McGrath

Tell us a little about your journey and how you became involved with The Pinnacle Foundation.

When I left high school, I was a bit lost, and quite unsure of what to study at uni. I’d always wanted to do medicine, but I couldn’t afford to pay for the standardised test required for selection. I ended up enrolling in a double degree in science and law, hoping that the broad range of topics I would be exposed to would help me settle on something. I started transitioning in the second year of my double degree, and around that time realised that healthcare was really the only field I could see myself working in, and so I switched to a bachelor’s in biomedical science, with a view to applying for post-graduate medicine.

I became involved with Pinnacle at the end of 2017. I was about to finish my biomedical science degree and was due to start post-grad medicine in January, but I was again feeling a bit lost about my career path (but this time it was which medical speciality I wanted to aim for). In searching for programs for career mentorship I came across The Pinnacle Foundation scholarships and applied on a whim, never really expecting that I would be successful. Very thankfully, I was, and now here I am three years later.

What have you gained from being part of the Pinnacle program so far?

The biggest thing for me has been hope, as cliché as that sounds. One of my biggest fears when transitioning, which was echoed by many of those around me, was that I would be unable to get a job or succeed in my career as a result. Before joining Pinnacle, I’d never met another LGBTIQ+ professional, but know I now there’s a whole community of people who have not only gone before me, but who I know have my back and are keen to see me succeed.

What has your experience with your mentor been like?

My mentor is fantastic. His calm and measured approach to things is the perfect antidote to my type A personality! I’m incredibly grateful for the relationship I have with my mentor. Knowing that there’s someone who is cheering me on, and who I can go to for advice at any time is invaluable. There are many things, both career related and otherwise, that I have been unable to ask my parents for advice about, so having him there as another support has been very welcome.

What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about applying for the Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship Program?

Absolutely apply! Pinnacle has introduced me to so many like-minded and amazing LGBTIQ+ young people from all over Australia – I’m still good friends with some of the people I met at my induction three years ago! It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I can’t wait to graduate and cheer on the next group of scholars.

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