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Graduating trio keep it in the family

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


Graduation was a family affair for a Perth mother and her two daughters who joined more than 1300 graduates at Edith Cowan University (ECU) graduation ceremonies over the weekend.

Mum Gaydre Scholtz received a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) degree, while her daughters Taryn and Nikita both received Bachelors of Business.

All three have been invited to join international honour society Golden Key, which comprises the top 15 per cent of university students from around the world.

Making the occasion even more memorable was the presence of husband and dad Rob Scholtz, who flew in from South Africa – where he's based for work – to watch the trio collect their degrees.

Like mother, like daughters

After the family moved to Australia from South Africa five years ago, Nikita and Taryn started their degrees at ECU. Gaydre, who had previously worked as a nurse, needed to complete a degree so she could work as a registered nurse.

"Getting back into study was quite daunting," Gaydre said.

"Never could I have imagined we would be studying together.

"But it's been a really positive experience to be able to share with my daughters.

"The girls were a little sceptical about me studying with them at first, but then they were really excited."

Shared experience

For Taryn, having both her mum and sister at the same university made for a unique experience.

"Being around campus, bumping into each other and going for coffee was fun. We were able to show mum the uni life," Taryn said.

"We would also help each other out with study, exams and I could help teach them things like how to reference."

Nikita said despite the challenges they've faced, it was all worth it.

"Graduating together is the end of a long and hard road we all walked together the past four years and being able to celebrate together is what the moment is about for me," she said.

Since completing their studies, Nikita has secured a job working with professional services firm EY, Taryn is planning to teach English in Japan and Gaydre is working towards confirming her nursing registration.

Honorary degrees

Joining the Scholtzes at the ECU graduation ceremonies were four distinguished women receiving honorary degrees.

Tanya Dupagne, Doctor of the University

Ms Dupagne is a community leader who founded Camp Kulin, a renowned summer camp for trauma-affected children, in 2013.

An ECU alumna, Ms Dupagne has made a significant impact in rural and regional communities by driving positive change, particularly for young people and women. She is also a Churchill Fellow, won the 2017 national AgriFutures Rural Women's Award and received a Westpac Social Change Fellowship in February 2019.

Rishelle Hume AM, Doctor of the University

Ms Hume was the 2016 Western Australian of the Year – Aboriginal category winner for her inspirational leadership and dedication to the advancement of Aboriginal people.

Currently managing Chevron Australia's aboriginal employment strategy, Ms Hume has dedicated over 25 years to improving employment, education, justice and health for Aboriginal people.

The Honourable Justice Carmel McLure AC, QC, Doctor of Laws

The Hon Justice McLure AC, QC has led a remarkable career in law as the first female president of the Court of Appeal of Western Australia.

In 2016 she was inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent services to the law and to the community.

Professor Address Malata, Doctor of Nursing

Professor Malata is a leader in the global development of nursing and midwifery education and in improving maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa.

She is Vice-Chancellor of the Malawi University of Science and Technology, the first female to hold such a position in her country.

Professor Malata also received the inaugural ECU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.

For more information about the benefits of ECU's alumni network, visit the Alumni webpages.


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