Thea Pärnamäe Rural Pharmacy Scholarship

Opening doors for rural women

Established to support female pharmacy students from rural and remote areas of Victoria and Australia, this bursary honours Swedish community pharmacist Thea Pärnamäe, a great believer in the value of applying education and pharmacy to improve lives.

The scholarship provides $2400 for one year to a female undergraduate pharmacy student from a rural or remote area.

Picture of Thea Pärnamäe

Thea's sister and niece, Mrs Malle Nogeste and Dr Kersti Nogeste have generously funded the bursary to honour Thea and their family’s strong belief in the value of tertiary education and giving back to the community.

"Although Thea lived in Sweden, I shared a close bond with her and fondly remember her commitment to her profession," niece Dr Nogeste says. "Thea was keenly interested in the pursuit of education, since her own studies had been interrupted by World War II. Also, as she had grown up in a rural area, she experienced first-hand, the particular difficulties that rural students face in furthering their education."

While not pharmacists themselves, Mrs Nogeste and Dr Nogeste felt that a bursary to support female pharmacy students from isolated areas was the best way to honour Thea’s life and values.

Thea Pärnamäe was born in rural Estonia in January 1927 but fled to Sweden in 1944 as a World War II refugee with her parents and younger sisters Inna and Malle. After finishing secondary school, Thea completed her pharmacy studies at the Farmaceutiska Institutet in Stockholm and worked as a community pharmacist until her retirement. Thea died in Stockholm in 2010.

Dr Nogeste also notes that “Thea thoroughly enjoyed being a community pharmacist because it provided her with a career which allowed her to directly engage with, and help members of her local community in Stockholm. As a dedicated pharmacist, Thea considered her role as not only one of dispensing drugs but also ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of her clients.”

How to apply

Find out about eligibility and applying for the Thea Pärnamäe Rural Pharmacy Scholarship.

How you can help

If you would like to make a difference to a future student, please consider donating to an existing scholarship today. To discuss setting up your own named scholarship or award, please contact Marian Simkin, Alumni and Foundation Officer, on +61 3 9903 9087 or email

Meet the 2019 scholarship recipient

Olivia Douglas

"This scholarship has been immensely helpful in relieving the financial strain that comes with living so far from home.  Your generosity has allowed me to focus less on money and work and more on my studies and future."    Olivia Douglas

I grew up on a property in southern New South Wales, between the towns of Moulamein and Tooleybuc. I attended school in Tooleybuc from Kindergarten to year 8. My father ran the family farm with his brother while my mother was the local community nurse.

Given the size and dwindling numbers at the local school, I was lucky enough to go to boarding school in Melbourne from year 9 to year 12. This was a great experience and afforded me a number of sporting and academic opportunities. Upon finishing school, I completed a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne.

Following this course, I took a year to work and travel before deciding to apply for the graduate entry pathway in to a Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours at Monash. I am currently completing my final exams for this course and have truly enjoyed my studies.

I am hoping to pursue a career in hospital pharmacy, with the aim of moving to a rural hospital in a few years once I have developed my skills and confidence. I am lucky enough to have secured an internship position for 2020 at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and cannot wait to put what I have learnt at Monash into practice. I believe that hospital pharmacy is an area where I can truly have an impact on the lives of patients, particularly within rural areas.

Past recipients of the Thea Pärnamäe Rural Pharmacy Scholarship

2018 Iris Kostas
2017 Bridget Kelly
2016 Kaitlyn Hastings
2015 Georgina Pennefather
2014 Kate Pilbeam
2013 Anne Bradman
2011 Melanie Welsh (nee Pentti)