Sean and Peta completed their studies at JCU Cairns with the support of the Indigenous Education and Research Centre.
Hear from our current students and recent graduates on their experience of studying at JCU.
Laura is studying the combined Bachelor of Nursing Science – Bachelor of Midwifery degree
"I'm from Cairns and my mother is from the Gungganyji tribe in Yarrabah. I only completed Year 10 and did not think university was an option for me.
Everyone at the Indigenous Education and Research Centre is helpful and I found out there were other pathways to university, so I completed the Diploma of Higher Education (Health) to help me get into my degree. I really like the Centre and knowing that I have somewhere to go, especially because I was shy when I started university. They are like a family, everyone supports and helps each other.
After I graduate, I want to head to a rural town and work in collaboration with other health professionals to help bring birthing back to rural and remote areas."
Cheyenne plans to graduate in 2019 with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree
"I'm from Pentland, a small town on the way from Townsville to Mount Isa. I decided I wanted to become an occupational therapist when I was in Year 10. I had known that I wanted to be in the health industry since I was 12, when my first nephew was born and diagnosed with several health problems. I decided I wanted to be able to help him and others live a little easier, so they can have the same opportunities.
Studying [at JCU] has opened up so many opportunities for me to join associations that I never would have if I wasn't at JCU. I have made friends and gained connections all over Australia.
I have an Indigenous background and I gained a lot of support and encouragement to keep pushing through my course when other things pulled me down. I'm most proud of the 'small wins' I've achieved while studying and doing my practicals."
Tracey is enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and Anthropology
"I am a Gungalidda (Burketown area) woman on my father's side and Mithaka (Windorah area) on my mother's side. I grew up and went to school in Mount Isa. I regarded myself as an average student and never thought I would attend university.
Learning has been the highlight of university. I have enjoyed all of my subjects, especially the core Bachelor of Arts subjects, which were fascinating. I like the friendly, helpful atmosphere of the Centre. They provide good student support services.
There is so much to marvel at, knowledge is a powerful tool. I always like to say to people, 'Take a chance on yourself, you are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul'."
Michael is enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing Science degree
"I initially enrolled into Business but worked out my passion was actually in the health area. I visit the Indigenous Education and Research Centre on the Cairns Campus when I have questions or need some help with my assignments. The staff at the Centre are a valuable resource, they answer any and all questions, and if they don't have the answer they will assist in any way possible to find out for me, which is amazing.
I’m expecting to graduate in 2018 and I plan to apply for a graduate position, either at Thursday Island Hospital, or in Cairns or Brisbane. I would like to do further studies in paramedics in the future."
Liam is enrolled in the Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree
"I was born in Mossman, but moved around many Aboriginal communities when I was young before finally settling in Rockhampton, where I finished high school. I always had an interest in dentistry, but never actually considered pursuing it until halfway through Year 12 as I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a high enough OP. I ended up doing better than I expected with my grades, which made it possible for me to consider Dentistry, however, I did need to do a bridging course in Chemistry to meet all the prerequisites. So I had to sacrifice [...] my Year 12 formal and all my friends celebrating at Schoolies, but it was all worth it in the end as I am very happy with my decision and where I am today."
Michale graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree
"I'm an Aboriginal and Australian South Sea Islander woman from Juru country in the Birri Gubba nation of Bowen. I really enjoyed my placements while studying, some of which were really interesting, like the Acute Neurology Rehabilitation Ward at The Townsville Hospital, and the Surgical Ward at the Cairns Base Hospital.
I have been employed as a full-time school based physiotherapist with the Department of Education in Townsville. I will be working with a team of therapist visiting local schools and helping students from 5-17 years of age. Eventually, I would like to start my own practice in my hometown of Bowen."
Assan has completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science. He is now studying a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
"I'm of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent and my home community is Palm Island. I visit the Indigenous Education and Research Centre regularly. They are like my family. I head in to have a yarn most of the time and I occasionally use the other services provided. I like the space and the environment of the Centre.
My advice to others is to not hesitate to study. If this is something you really want to do, just dive straight into it. You'll have all the support you need and probably more. Making friends will help you get through the degree and will come in handy when you need to study and do assessment. When you come to university, try to participate as much as you can."
Sarah graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Earth Science) and a Bachelor of Arts (Political and International Relations) degree
"I was first in my family to go to university and this was one of my biggest challenges. I didn’t have anyone to ask what university was like, and I had a massive fear of the unknown. But with the encouragement of my friends and family, and the JCU student support team, studying at JCU became one of the most exciting and empowering experiences of my life.
I highly recommend studying a double degree. It gives you the opportunity to study a more diverse range of subjects and can expose you to often segregated world views; for me it brought together the political and the scientific realms. Growing up in Far North Queensland, I developed a passion for the environment and felt a sense of urgency about the environmental crises we are facing worldwide. I had to do something."