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Student Summary

An overview of Shalom College's Indigenous students who were part of the AIEF Scholarship Program in 2017. Read about their background, their interests and their achievements throughout the year.


Vanessa is a proud Bundjalung woman from Lismore who has spent most her childhood in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. She was the first Indigenous graduate from her high school to go on to study at university. She began by studying Social Work / Arts but is now continuing with a combined Law degree. She is in the 3rd year of her studies. She is passionate about helping other people from all walks of life. A gifted leader and sportsperson, Vanessa spearheaded the Just for Kicks program at her high school where students could participate in sport during lunch breaks and after school. The successful program promoted positive physical expression and emotional wellbeing. She has also represented NSW in basketball. Ness has undergone mentor training with AIME - the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience – and works with the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence.


Tamara is from Bodalla on the NSW South Coast and belongs to the Yuin Nation. Having witnessed the challenges and disadvantages that Indigenous people face in her own community, she hopes to use her expertise as a lawyer to address the problems and injustices that exist. She is now in 5th year of a combined Arts / Law degree. Tamara has a legal cadetship with Qantas. She is also a Nura Gili Indigenous Student Ambassador, an Aspire Ambassador and an ITAS tutor. She also assists with the Nura Gili Indigenous Winter School Program where she hopes to inspire and encourage other Indigenous students to attend university. Tamara has been a volunteer in Walama Muru (a student volunteer program run by Arc @ UNSW) in 2014 and 2015. This involves students visiting an Indigenous community to complete projects based on the community’s needs during the university break.


Ryan is a Wiradjuri man from Blacktown in Sydney and he is the first member of his family to attend university. From a young age Ryan was taught the importance of education and his dream was to become either a policeman or a doctor. In unfortunate circumstances Ryan was diagnosed with a serious illness and it was through this adversity and the relationship he had built with his Pediatrician that Ryan decided he wanted to study medicine. He is now in the 4th year of Medicine at the University of NSW. He has been appointed a college Tutor and has been performing very well in the role since February 2017. In the sporting arena, he has played baseball in representative teams in Singapore and in the US. He has served as a Shalom College and SRC sports director and enjoys music, reading and the arts.


Luke is a Wiradjuri man from Narromine, NSW. Now in his 6th and final year of Medicine at UNSW, Luke has done consistently well in his studies and is due to graduate as a doctor in December this year. Inspired to become a doctor partly by the caring nature of his local GP, he hopes to one-day work as a doctor in a rural community much like his own.


Jason from Ballina, NSW and is in his 6th year of study. He is a young Aboriginal man from the Bundjalung tribe. He is doing particularly well in his studies will graduate as a doctor in December 2017. As his medical research study, he focused on measuring the functions of chemotherapy induced neuropathy, testing the effects and impact of chemotherapy upon the nervous system.


Desiree is a Wakka Wakka woman, from Marrickville, NSW. She is studying Law/Social Work (Hons) and is currently in her 6th year. She holds an Australian Public Service Cadetship with the Dept of Immigration and Border Protection. Her academic record is outstanding.


Bridget is a Wiradjuri woman from Lithgow in NSW. Bridget chose to leave the college at the end of July 2017 to live independently and to be closer to the law firm where she is completing a cadetship. She is currently in the 4th year of a combined Arts/Law degree. In 2015 Bridget was elected to the National Union of Students. Her portfolio is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer. In 2016, she served as the UNSW Indigenous officer on the Student Representative Council


Teeyanna is a Birri-Gubba and Dauareb woman from Townsville, Queensland.

Now in the 6th year of a combined Arts / Law degree, she is an active member of College and the wider UNSW campus. As a volunteer Teeyanna has assisted with the Walama Muru Community Outreach Program and also worked as a student supervisor at the annual Nura Gili Winter School Program. As a college tutor, she is a responsible leader and role model for her fellow students helping with their studies and general college issues. She is a skilled sportswoman, a strong basketball player and has been actively involved with Nura Gili and organising the UNSW indigenous University games team.


Sarah is a Dharawal woman of the Eora nation and comes from Eastwood. She is currently in the 4th and final year of a combined Social Work/ Criminology and Criminal Justice Degree. After qualifying, she hopes to work as a social worker in the criminal justice system. She is passionate about working towards reducing rates of criminals re-offending. She is gravely concerned about and would like to contribute to trying to reduce the rate Indigenous deaths in custody. Sarah has worked as a student supervisor in Nura Gili Programs. This year, she was appointed an Indigenous Intern with the Department of Social Services.


Murrie is a Ghungalu man from Rockhampton. He is currently in the 5th and final year of a Bachelor’s of Exercise Physiology and is likely to graduate this year. Murrie attended Boarding school in Orange and was the Schools first Indigenous Head Prefect of Boarding he was also vice sports captain and vice-captain of the rugby team. He is a keen sportsman and a talented footballer and boxer and has represented both Shalom College and UNSW in the various sporting competitions. His future goals and aspirations include opening his own physiotherapy clinic, providing exercise physiologist support to elite sports teams and travelling around Australia to provide specialist services in injury prevention and treatment to Indigenous communities. Murrie has strong ties back to his home community of Woorabinda where he grew up and he is interested in returning there one day to learn the traditional language, ceremonial rituals and medicinal practices passed down from his elders. He would then like to pass his knowledge down to future generations, as he knows the importance of tradition and culture in shaping one’s identity. Murrie is a tutor-in-residence at Shalom College.


Jessica is a Dharawal woman from Stanmore who grew up in Sydney. She is the inaugural recipient of the DSTO – Shalom Gamarada Scholarship [DST – Defence Science and Technology]. She is in the 4th year of a Science degree. In 2013 Jessica was awarded the Indigenous student of the year award at TAFE NSW. At the 2014 Gili awards, she received an Excellence in Academic Achievement Award. Later in 2014, she was won the Spirit Award in Science at the Annual UNSW Indigenous Awards. Jessica has worked as a Youth Program Volunteer at Bowen and Rockdale Libraries, has worked with Koori Radio and is a talented computer gamer.


India is a Wathaurong woman. She was raised in Ocean Grove, Victoria – near Geelong. She is a talented sportswoman and performed very successfully in National Surf Life Savings competitions. India has served in leadership roles at Shalom College, eg, as the Female Sports Director. She is now in the 4th year of Medicine. She attended the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors’ Congress (PRIDoC 2016) in late November early December, 2016.


Clancy is a Bidjara Man from Port Stephens NSW and is currently in 3rd year of Medicine. Clancy was Vice Captain at his high school and an energetic student with a range of skills from photography to debating to chess and cooking and more, all of which he has brought with him to Shalom College. He hopes to work with communities and schools toward developing programs to help Indigenous kids make positive dietary, health and lifestyle choices.

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To be honest, my Mum and I feel like we’ve won the lottery. I get to go to the best school, have all the activities and opportunities they provide and then receive all this support after I graduate - it's amazing.

AIEF Scholarship Student
Year 10


The AIEF Scholarship Program and the AIEF Pathways Program are supported by the Australian Government in collaboration with individual, philanthropic and corporate supporters from the private sector.