Scholarships designed to support Indigenous participation in higher education have been awarded to six motivated Charles Sturt University (CSU) students.Five CSU students, Ms Mikaela Dart, Ms Violet Evans, Ms Nikita Brown, Ms Julieann Hall and Ms Sophie L'Estrange, have been awarded Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarships.
Ms Dart, originally from the small village of Tomingley, is studing nursing at CSU in Dubbo.
"I chose to study nursing because I am passionate about the health of people," she said.
"There's a great need for health care workers in rural areas and coming from a small community myself, I'd like to help fill that gap."
Ms Evans, a distance education student, is studying a Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) while employed as an Aboriginal mental health worker by the WA Country Health Service in Esperance.
"Coming from a rural background I've always been passionate about rural and remote health and raising awareness of the health issues faced by the Aboriginal community," she said.
"Studying at Charles Sturt University has provided me with information, skills and expertise that I can apply through my work with Aboriginal communities and families to help improve their health outcomes"
The sixth scholarship is a Freddy Fricke Scholarship from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, awarded to Bachelor of Applied Science (Parks Recreation and Heritage) student Mr Leroy Bates.
"I'm a Barkindji man and traditional owner of Mutawintji National Park, so I have a strong cultural background. It is therefore my goal to work with National Parks and Wildlife and help preserve my culture and heritage," said Mr Bates.
"If there's a career you're interested in that requires university qualifications, there are of course hurdles to jump through. Be determined, keep your goal in mind and be aware there are plenty of support opportunities available, both academically and financially. With enough hard work you can achieve your goals."
Scholarships officer with CSU's Office for Students Ms Nina Merrilees said there are opportunities for Indigenous students to tap into support to help them meet the costs of study.
"We're able to provide information about the range of scholarships available within the University and those provided by external organisations. It is very rewarding to see students succeed and great that CSU can make life a bit less stressful for the students by assisting them with their scholarship applications," she said.
CSU also offers small grants through the Rural and Regional Indigenous Community Engagement Program to support cultural, economic, sporting and related activities and to build higher education aspiration and awareness.