Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

2015 Cultural scholarship winner was an early achiever

Cameron Panzenbock (Pictured)

Warrane’s 2015 Cultural Scholarship winner, Cameron Panzenbock, has been an early achiever on a grand scale, notching up achievements well before coming to university that would satisfy many people over a lifetime.

After a distinguished school career, Cameron decided at the youthful age of 16, that it would be best to wait a couple of years before entering university, deferred for two years and took a job with a small startup software development company in North Queensland.

“The idea was to earn some money, get some experience and wait until I turned 18,” Cameron explained.

When the two years was up last year, Cameron left the company as a senior developer. Over the period, he had also involved himself actively in his local community, taking part in community events and in his local Catholic parish and participating in the local St Vincent de Paul Society.

His cultural pursuits began early at his school: Gilroy Santa Maria College in Ingham, Queensland. While there, he played piano for more than 10 years, passed the AMEB Grade 8 Practical Exam with a Distinction in 2013.

He also played with ensembles, solo (mainly classical music) and also enjoyed learning music by ear.

“In high school I also took part in a small drama group,” he said. “I took art classes and placed once or twice in drawing and painting sections in my town’s arts festival.

“As a hobby I’ve written quite a bit of expressive poetry, and I also picked up a bit of basic Ukulele for fun.” For exercise, Cameron was keen on Taekwondo, achieving a first-degree black belt, and enjoys long distance cycling when he can fit it in.

Since arriving at UNSW he has already received an All Rounder award from the university and a UNSW Computing Leadership Award. He says computing is one of his great passions, leading him to enrol in the UNSW Computer Engineering course.

“I’ve always wanted to get into the computing field,” he says. “I’m analytically minded and I like devising creative solutions within tightly defined constraints.”

That talent led to him winning a national game-making competition twice in early high school – the ACMI Screen It competition.

Cameron says his leadership skills were honed at school, where he was voted vice-captain, that they were developed further through his work with the computer firm.

“I found I was able to put the leadership skills to good use in my profession from 2013-14,” he said, “which helped me to reach the position of senior developer with the company.”

Finally, Cameron’s academic achievements have been considerable. He achieved an “Overall Position” (or OP as Queensland calls its tertiary entrance score) of 2. This is equivalent roughly to an ATAR in the range of 98 to 99. Almost as an afterthought, Cameron also mentions that he was awarded Dux of his grade in years 10 to 12 when he was two years younger than most of his peers.