Featured News Indigenous students shine at awards

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Thu, 8 Sep 2022

Indigenous students shine at awards

Alt text Rikisha Phineasa man
Award recipient Rikisha Phineasa with her family at Thursday night's JCU Indigenous Student Awards ceremony in Townsville.

James Cook University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have been recognised for their outstanding academic and personal achievements at a major awards ceremony last night.

31 students were honoured at the sixth annual Indigenous Student Awards ceremony in Townsville, as they continue to excel in their tertiary studies.

Education, Arts, Social Work, Law, Business, Engineering, Planning, Science, Allied Health, Nursing and Midwifery, Medicine, Veterinary and Medical Sciences were among the award categories.

They were in addition to students recognised by the Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health, CSIRO STEM and “Spirit” awards for the Nguma-bada (Smithfield) and Bebegu Yumba (Douglas) campuses.

JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy, Professor Martin Nakata said the awards reflect the students’ hard work over the course of a busy year.

“The calibre of students who receive these awards continues to impress us every year,” Prof Nakata said.

“These awards recognise the journey each student has been on in order to reach such a high level of success - from the support they’ve received from family and friends to the high level of academic and pastoral care provided by the staff at JCU’s Indigenous Education and Research Centre and from across the University.

“The learning experience at JCU is only enriched by the achievements of our Indigenous students.”

Prof Nakata paid tribute to the families, wider community and industry supporters in attendance at the awards.

“It is an enormously proud moment for these students as they take the stage and accept such an award in front of their peers and supporters,” he said.

“Through their academic endeavours, they have the power to inspire the next generation of students to reach for the stars.”

2022 Indigenous Student Award Recipients

  • Miss Charlie Alice Milsom Owen
  • Mr Brodie Joel Kuhn
  • Miss Moara Grace Sam
  • Mr Tupoa James Guligo
  • Miss Lilly-Lee Vonda Jordan
  • Mr Peter Ashley Prince
  • Mr Cooper James Wilkins
  • Ms Cassie Eloise Tregea
  • Mr Zane Darryl Court
  • Mr Myles Alexander McKenzie
  • Miss Isabelle Dale Merchant
  • Miss Rikisha Kristan Phineasa
  • Mr Matthew James Bonato
  • Miss Sarah Jane Barton
  • Mr Ironbark Wallace Venner
  • Mr Thaine Hamilton Wood
  • Mr Thomas Lachlan Muellegger
  • Miss Tara-Lee Player
  • Miss Fenella Kate Hartley
  • Mr Jake Antonie Papadopoulos
  • Miss Courtney May Burns
  • Miss Ashleigh Jordan Hazle
  • Mr Jesse Leigh Rickard
  • Mr Dylan Maxwell Spencer
  • Miss Tanika Marlu Willcocks

Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health

  • Lauren Ah One


  • Robyn Pearce
  • Rebekah McCann
  • Dr Sam Burrell

Nguma-bada Spirit Award

  • Diane Cook

Bebegu Yumba Spirit Award

  • Jamie Yule

Media enquiries: michael.serenc@jcu.edu.au