Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Heath Carpenter will soon become Edith Cowan University (ECU)’s first Indigenous graduate with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering. But it’s an achievement that almost didn’t happen.
At just six years of age, Heath was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition which resulted in a kidney transplant. He missed a large amount of school, making it challenging for him to get the grades needed to study engineering at university.
It was a bridging course offered by Kurongkurl Katitjin, ECU’s Centre for Indigenous Education and Research, which helped Health gain entry into ECU and embark on his dream career.
“I have always been interested in how things are built and work,” Heath said.
“The staff at Kurongkurl Katitjin were very helpful and went out of their way to assist me in any way they could. I really recommend the bridging course, particularly for students who have been unable to study for a while as it provides the perfect launching pad for university studies.”
On the eve of national NAIDOC Week celebrations, Heath is celebrating a very special milestone. He has been named the 2012 Tertiary Scholar of the Year in the Perth NAIDOC Awards for his commitment to his studies.
For Heath, winning the award was a humbling experience.
“It was a surprise to be nominated, and an honour to win,” Heath said.
“I am sure there were many deserving students nominated for the awards and I’m absolutely thrilled to win.”
Heath has already secured a job when he graduates at the end of this year. He will be working in the Pilbara with mining company NRW Civil and Mining and is looking forward to a successful career, with dreams to travel the world along the way.
“Heath is an inspiration to all our Indigenous students,” said Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity and Indigenous) and Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin Professor Colleen Hayward AM.
“His perseverance and commitment to his studies is a true testament to his character, and his achievements are a great example of what we recognise each year at our NAIDOC Week celebrations.”
“We very much look forward to adding Heath’s name to our Rock Solid Foundations tribute to ECU’s Indigenous Alumni.”.
ECU is hosting several events to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
For more information on Indigenous education at ECU visit the Kurongkurl Katitjin webpages.