From Broome to Canada – via Melbourne
Moving to Melbourne to study the Bachelor of Arts was a big step for Broome local and Gija woman Abby-Rose Cox, and now’s she made an even bigger leap, going to McGill University, Canada, on exchange as part of the University’s new Lin Martin Global Scholars program.
The scholarship funds short study placements in universities abroad for high-achieving students who have suffered social, educational or financial disadvantage.
The scholarship is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for Ms Cox, who is first in her family to attend university and travel overseas.
At McGill, she is completing studies of Canada’s Indigenous people, (First Nations Studies) as part of her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Criminology and Australian Indigenous Studies.
“Being at university is extremely important to me and my family. I would like to complete my studies, and then return home to Broome to help my people,” she says.
“I have always been passionate about helping my people and saw education as a means of closing the gap.”
The University hosted a celebration to congratulate the first Lin Martin Melbourne Global Scholarship recipients and honour their namesake, equity champion and former Head of University Services, Ms Lin Martin.
There were 21 recipients in the first round of scholarships, though not all of them were at the ceremony, as many of them, like Abby-Rose, were overseas making the most of their scholarships.
Students were congratulated by Professor Richard James, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Participation and Engagement, who is also Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
“Ms Martin is known for her groundbreaking work to establish an equity policy framework for Australian education at a time when equity was not in the forefront and there were no tools to measure imbalances in Australian education,” he says.
“Her central interest is providing for those with potential. Naming the scholarship after her was our way of honouring her. Lin’s equity policy framework has endured for more than 30 years which says a lot about the quality of the work that was done.”
Ms Martin said she was pleased disadvantaged students gained the chance to study overseas.
“My two great pleasures in life were education and travel, so this scholarship is such a great opportunity,” she says.
“I have this passion for social equity because I gained so much from higher education that I wanted other people who came from disadvantaged backgrounds to have that opportunity as well. I was the first in my family to go university.”
Medical student Joobin Hooshmand undertook a one-month placement in Samoa, because, he said, he wanted to practise medicine where there was a great disparity in services and resources so he could gain a new perspective before he graduated.
“Although it’s only five hours away, flights to Samoa cost as much as flights to Europe, so I’m glad the scholarship covered that,” he says.
Music and languages student Christiana Aloneftis made the most of her scholarship, which saw her travel to Italy. She advanced her understanding of opera, took lessons and built professional networks.
“When I’m ready for a professional career or go into postgraduate study, I already have contacts I can liaise with thanks to the scholarship,” she says.
Scholarship recipients were also invited to special events at the University designed to complement their degrees and overseas experiences.