As a Bigambul woman from south-western Queensland, Edith Cowan University (ECU) student Bianca Best’s, connection with country, cemented the foundation for her aspirations to impact positive change in the community.
“I was raised by a single father and have two older sisters. I had a wonderful childhood. We moved around a lot when I was younger, so that allowed me to explore our beautiful country and make amazing friends along the way,” Ms Best said.
Now based in Ellenbrook, Ms Best juggles raising three children, studying a Bachelor of Counter Terrorism, Security and Intelligence while volunteering as a student representative on three university committees.
A humble achiever, Ms Best has forged a new path after commencing her degree in 2017.
“Before my university studies, I was predominately a stay-at-home mum and worked on weekends,” Ms Best said.
“During a moment of serenity on holiday with my family, I decided to further my education and focus on my career.”
She now adds the 2020 ECU Vice Chancellor’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Scholarship to her list of achievements, worth $2,500 per semester until the completion of her degree. This award recognises demonstrated leadership and contribution within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and broader university community.
“I do the best I can to be the best version of myself every day – but it was an incredible surprise to be recognised with this scholarship. The funding has helped immensely as my children have needed assessments and surgeries this year.”
The scholarship recipient believes it’s important for anyone to pursue their dreams.
“Your mindset predetermines your outcome. By saying ‘yes’ to yourself, you become the centre of your own universe and good things gravitate towards you. It’s okay to be happy, and to allow yourself to succeed,” Ms Best said.
“The feeling you get when you reach the goals you set for yourself, and work hard at achieving, is amazing.
“It would be great to see more Aboriginal professionals to grow cultural awareness across industries and to encourage others to pursue their ambitions. Your country, your community and your family will all benefit from you reaching for the stars.”
When she finishes her degree, Ms Best plans to continue with postgraduate studies and carve a career where she can proactively support her community.
“I will continue to be the voice for those who do not know they have one and help wherever and however I can.”
ECU Early childhood education graduate and Kalkadoon and Indjalandi-Dhidhanu woman Mikayla King achieved her dream of becoming a teacher with the support of the ECU Vice Chancellor's Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Scholarship and is the first in her family to graduate university.
Ms King, who now works as a teacher at Moorditj Noongar Community College and owns her own Aboriginal consultancy business, praised the quality teaching and support offered by ECU.
“My lecturers and school deans took the time to listen to any feedback I had on how teaching Aboriginal students was integrated into the course, which showed me that ECU cares about providing accessible and equitable learning opportunities for everyone.”
ECU believes in the transformative impact of education and is proud of our long-standing commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people realise their dreams and aspirations through furthering their education.
Kurongkurl Katitjin, ECU’s Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, provides support services and programs to help meet the academic and cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Take the first step toward your future today. To find out more, visit ecuworldready.com.au/indigenous
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