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Written By

Mykala Wright


College of Arts, Society and Education

Publish Date

5 October 2022

Receiving the energy to go further

For JCU Student Jodie Mottram, receiving the Arrow Energy Scholarship was the key to unlocking the opportunity to achieve her personal, educational and professional goals.

Jodie is a proud Indigenous woman and a single mother raising three children while studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Criminology and Indigenous Studies.

With the support of the Arrow Energy Go Further Indigenous Tertiary Scholarship, Jodie will be able to dedicate her time to furthering her education and increasing her career opportunities.

“The scholarship will give me the financial freedom to focus solely on my studies,” Jodie says.

“Raising the children by myself while also studying has often resulted in financial hardship. It has been a real struggle to stay at uni instead of going out to work to be able to afford to live. The funding from the scholarship will alleviate that pressure and help us to buy groceries and other essential items.”

The scholarship provides up to $10,000 to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to support their academic outcomes. For Jodie, this money will mean she can replace her laptop and textbooks that were lost during a flooding event in her rental property that occurred just weeks before the semester started.

“I home educate my three children, so I develop their curriculums and teach them myself. I usually sit down and get the kids to do certain tasks while I’m listening to lectures on my phone, but it becomes trickier to juggle when I need to go on-campus,” she says.

“It hasn’t always been easy and this scholarship will mean I’ll be able to buy a new computer to study with at home.”

Close up of Jodie's psychology textbooks
Portrait selfie of JCU student Jodie Mottram.
Left: Jodie’s psychology textbooks. Right: JCU student Jodie Mottram. Supplied by Jodie Mottram

A personal pursuit turned professional plan

Jodie is passionate about becoming an Indigenous clinical psychologist, a vision driven by her own personal experiences and a wish to build healthier, more equitable communities.

Growing up, Jodie lived in a home where domestic violence was present and as an adult, she experienced it in her own relationships.

“My sister was also in a domestic violence cycle; her children weren’t coping and at the end of 2021 we lost my 17-year-old niece to suicide. I wanted to study psychology to understand why we were repeating that cycle and to focus my efforts on helping other people in similar situations,” she says.

Jodie says that her studies have given her a broader perspective on her individual circumstances as well as a better understanding of systemic structures within our communities.

“I also want to understand more of the criminal side of things, which is what motivated me to start a second degree looking at criminology.”

Jodie plans to combine the skills from her Bachelor of Psychological Science with the knowledge from her Bachelor of Arts to make a positive impact on the health outcomes of remote and rural Indigenous communities. She hopes to foster a community where people feel comfortable to reach out for help.

“Aboriginal women are 35-95 times more likely to be involved in domestic and family violence because of intergenerational trauma and a lack of feeling as though they have a safe space to speak up and seek help. Learning statistics like this has really shocked me and they drive me to keep going,” Jodie says.

“I want to open a clinic in remote Australia and I want to travel between the communities and offer continuity of services in the smaller areas that don’t have access to these much needed culturally appropriate mental health services.

“I grew up in regional Victoria and we were about a one hour drive from any services, including a doctor. So, living rurally in a domestic violence situation, I know how tough things can be for communities that don’t have access to these essential healthcare services.”

Jodie has already begun to put her knowledge from her studies into real-world practice by volunteering as a Student-Staff Liaison Officer in JCU’s Psychology Department, a Training Facilitator on the Student Respect Team, a Student Representative on the Student Advisory Forum and a Students as Partners Member for the university’s Peer to Peer Programs Group.

With her drive to make a difference, and the help of the Arrow Energy Scholarship, Jodie is well on her way to achieving her goals.

If you or anyone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence, 24-hour confidential help and support are available at 1800RESPECT or by calling 1800 737 732. For mental health support, Lifeline offers 24-hour confidential services via phone, text or online chat.

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