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Whether you are a graduate of James Cook University and landed that perfect job, a current student who has just aced an exam, a proud parent, grandparent or caregiver, a teacher or educator who wants to share how passionate you are about seeing our students strive for excellence, or a community member who is doing wonderful things to bring everyone together to learn and grow with each other, we'd love to hear from you!

Contact ierc@jcu.edu.au to share your story.


News & Presentations

Joanne and ProfThird year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery student and proud Torres Strait Islander, Joanne Kaczmarek has been awarded a bursary from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

The Medical Student Bursary is awarded to current Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander medical students, and this year was awarded to Joanne for her dedication to medicine and going above and beyond to care for her patients and communities.

Having grown up on Badu Island, studying medicine was never a life-long dream for Joanne. In fact, she initially completed a Commerce degree and worked for the Australian Public Service for 10 years prior to realising she wanted to make a difference in Indigenous health. Joanne discovered her calling after hearing the story of Miss Dhu, an Indigenous woman who died in custody after the health system let her down. Joanne knew she had to make a change.

Her goal after graduation is to become a rural GP and return to her community in the Torres Straits as a doctor.


Presented by Professor Sana Nakata, University of Melbourne.

Associate Professor Sana Nakata delivers the 2020 Japanangka errol West Lecture for NAIDOC Week. Sana will reflect on the difficult entanglements between the construction of Indigenous peoples as a not-knowing people and the academy’s sustained desire to know Indigenous peoples.

Associate Professor Sana Nakata is Associate Dean, Indigenous and co-director of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Trained as a lawyer and political theorist, her research is centred on developing an approach for thinking politically about childhood in ways that improve the capacity of adult decision-makers to act in their interests. She has recently completed an ARC Discovery Indigenous Research Fellowship examining Representations of Children in Australian Political Controversies (2016-2019). She is the author of Childhood Citizenship, Governance and Policy (2015) and, along with co-director Sarah Maddison, edits the Springer book series Indigenous Settler Relations in Australia and the World.

JCU's Pro Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy, Martin Nakata AM has been featured on ABC's Sunday Extra 'The Year that Made Me'.

Professor Nakata has recently been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his outstanding contribution to Indigenous Education and has just had an asteroid named after himself for his involvement in Indigenous Astronomy education.

The Year That Made Me: Martin Nakata, 1980

Professor Martin Nakata - Profile PhotoProfessor Martin Nakata, Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous Education and Strategy at James Cook University has been awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM). The Order of Australia recognises Australian citizens for outstanding achievements and service.

Professor Nakata was the first Torres Strait Islander to receive a PhD and he is recognised internationally as one of Australia’s leading academics. He is widely published in national and international academic journals, anthologies and books on Indigenous educational matters. His research work in the higher education sector to improve outcomes for Indigenous students spans almost four decades, and he has been invited to and delivered keynote addresses on his ongoing work to professional associations in over twenty countries.

His current ARC-funded study of improvements to Indigenous STEM education in schools will have bearing on the shape of Indigenous STEM education in the future.

WEBINAR:  Savaging the Disciplines: reflections and futures for Indigenous higher education

A conversation between Associate Dean (Indigenous) of the Faculty of Arts at University of Melbourne, Associate Professor Sana Nakata and JCU's Pro Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy, Professor Martin Nakata

This week our very own Nursing graduate, Tahnia-Maree Ah Kit, received the video call of a lifetime. Tahnia-Maree, along with two of her colleagues from Gidgee Healing in Mount Isa were honoured by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Sophie the Countess of Wessex.

Kate and Sophie thanked the nurses for their 'incredible work' on International Nurses' Day.

Tahnia-Maree graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2019, and was also one of the IERC's student ambassadors during her time at JCU. When speaking to the Royals, Tahnia-Maree claims, "We are feeling the love".

Check out our very own superstar in this clip (Tahnia-Maree is shown around the 1.18min mark)

Read the full article here

DOCUMENTARY: Malaytown Stories: first wave of Torres Strait Islanders to the mainland

In the tradition of family oral histories, six former Cairns Malaytown residents and descendants share stories of their families' journeys from the islands to establish thriving communities on the mainland since the 1890s.

Lenora Thaker, Felecia Watkin Lui and Douglas Watkin (2006) Malaytown Stories: first wave of Torres Strait Islanders to the mainland. . Double Wire Productions, Windsor, QLD, Australia (Unpublished)

Chantelle Blackwell

Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Marine Biology

Chantelle in her happy place

“As a child of the land, I feel is essential to learn of God’s creation in order to protect, conserve and share the beauty of life underwater.”

Merinda Walters

Bachelor of Environmental Practice

Mindy during her internship

We live in a world where pollution, climate change and human impact have painted the future in uncertainty. We are the generation that will change it and this degree will help you to be part of that change."

Joanne Kaczmarek

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Jo on placement on TI

"My journey to medicine probably doesn't fir the common narrative. Studying medicine isn't the fulfilment of a lifelong goal of mine. In fact, it wasn't even on my radar until a few years ago."

Anastasia Jensen

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Anastasia Jensen

"I like to share my story because it gets down to basics with a lot of young people. Many who I have spoken to come from a very similar background to me."

Max McLachlan

Bachelor of Business, Majoring in Economics and Management

Max McLachlan

“I spent my internship in Tahiti, French Polynesia. In my three weeks in Tahiti, my role was to observe, learn, develop and implement strategies and ideas to improve trade between Australia and Tahiti."

Anthony Nicholls

Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science (JCU Graduate)

Anthony Nicholls with client

"Be open to new opportunities and work hard in the classroom, as these efforts will open doors for you."

Dr Nickalus Saveka

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (JCU Graduate)

Dr Nickalus Saveka

“We have to change our way of not aiming for anything higher, because we think we’re not smart enough. I was never smart at school either, but it’s just that thinking.”

Jade Gould

Bachelor of Science (JCU Graduate)

Jade Gould

"Investing these few years in yourself learning and developing, and the connections made at uni is extremely valuable."