My name is Christie Wishart and today, I graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science, majoring in nutrition, with a minor in health promotion.
Why did you choose to study this course?
I have always had an interest in health, holistic wellbeing and seeing improved health outcomes for my fellow First Nations people. I was aware that good nutrition is a very important component for good health and that First Nations people have always had a very strong connection to country, traditional foods, and medicines. The disruptions to First Nations Peoples traditional ways of living have had devastating impacts on health outcomes. I knew I needed to increase my knowledge around the science and impacts of food on the body. The Bachelor of Medical Science at CQUni helped to increase my knowledge in these areas as well as introducing western concepts of health promotion and the importance of influencing and informing policy.
Was there anyone inspired or motivated you?
I have seen the disadvantages faced by First Nations people my entire life and I always hoped to be able to contribute to improving these outcomes however, I didn’t believe I was capable of completing a university degree. My Uncle always encouraged me. He told me I could do anything I set my mind to do. His encouragement led to me enrolling into the Tertiary Entry Program (TEP) at CQUni in 2014. The continued encouragement and support of CQUni’s TEP staff also encouraged me to enrol into the Bachelor of Medical Science in 2015. The TEP staff continued to encourage and support me through many trying times throughout my degree.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
I enjoyed the residential schools where I was able to connect with other students and gain face to face and hands on experiences.
Are you the first person in your immediate family (parents, siblings, and children) to attend university?
Yes, I am the first to graduate in my family.
What made you choose CQUni?
CQUni has a campus in Bundaberg on Taribelang country where I currently live. My experiences with CQUni’s Office of Indigenous Engagement and TEP staff and the fact they had a safe place within the University’s TEP program for Indigenous students was the main reason I chose CQUni.
How has studying changed your life?
Studying has provided me with many new opportunities and experiences. I have grown professionally and academically. I have had improvements in networking, communication, thinking critically, problem solving and time management. I have gained work in research and education; I have completed an internship with Aurora at The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association in Canberra. I have also increased my leadership skills and received scholarships and awards. I have been invited to speak publicly at many different locations within my community. Studying has changed my life and given me new motivation to continue being a positive influence and contributor to my community and fellow First Nations people.
Can you share with us what reason/ circumstance made you apply for an Arrow Energy Go Further Indigenous Scholarship?
As a single mum of three from a low socio-economic status (SES) background studying full-time, I often wondered if I would be able to continue my studies or need to withdraw to work. The Arrow Energy Go Further Indigenous Scholarship provided an opportunity to remove financial pressure and allow me to focus on my studies.
How did receiving an Arrow Energy Go Further Indigenous Scholarship positively impact your studies/ family life?
Receiving the Arrow Energy Go Further Indigenous Scholarship provided financial relief for myself and my children. I was able to prioritise my family and study and reduce my overall workload. Additionally, I was able to prioritise my study over work and I believe I achieved better results because of this.
“I experienced many challenges throughout my studies the support from Arrow Energy contributed to my ability to successfully complete my degree. I would like to say a very big thank you for making a very challenging time a lot easier. I thank Arrow energy for their continued commitment in supporting First Nations students through their studies.”
With your upcoming graduation, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
I still hope to be a positive contributor to closing the gaps faced by me fellow First Nations people. At this stage I am pursuing opportunities in my community to increase my hands-on experience with traditional healing practices as I consider post graduate study options.
The CQUniCares Scholarship program changes lives and we are so grateful to partner with organisations like Arrow Energy who share our passion for making the difference in the lives of our students, their families and our communities.