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Students from Brisbane and Bathurst are the inaugural recipients of a new scholarship for Indigenous undergraduates, allowing them to pursue their passion for STEM and live at a college on campus.

Caitlin Ramsey (Engineering/Science) and Patrick Long (Business/Science) were selected for the Origin Foundation Grant King Indigenous Scholarships, which aim to assist two Indigenous students each year to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Caitlin and Patrick each receive a full residential scholarship valued at $24,000 a year, which will enable them to live at a college on campus while they complete their studies. Patrick is at Shalom College as part of their Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Program and Caitlin is at Baxter College. The students were accepted into UNSW Sydney via its Indigenous Access Scheme, an alternative pathway for Indigenous students to enrol in undergraduate degree programs, run by the University’s Indigenous programs unit Nura Gili.

“I wanted to be a teacher,” said Caitlin. “I come from a family of teachers and I really enjoyed tutoring younger kids at school. I loved maths, IT and biology, but never really considered computer science. Once I looked into it, I realised that IT and engineering had good job prospects, and when I found that UNSW is the only university in Australia to offer a computer science degree in bioinformatics – the perfect combination of what I’m most interested in – I was determined to study here.”

With the high cost of living in Sydney, Caitlin doubted she could have made the move from her native Brisbane without the Origin Foundation Scholarship. “I applied for many scholarships, but I particularly wanted this one as it removes the stress of having to get a job to pay for my living expenses so I can focus on my studies.

“Having a link with industry in Origin Energy appealed too, and I’m looking forward to the mentoring and networking opportunities that will further enrich my learning and experiences at UNSW.”

Patrick said he was determined to undertake his studies at UNSW. “I could have gone to uni in my home town but I was solely focused on getting into UNSW as it has such an excellent reputation. My dad came to UNSW on a program similar to the Indigenous Access Scheme so he knew that its support would enable me to do my very best at uni. And I couldn't have moved to Sydney without the scholarship, so I'm very thankful for that.”

Patrick has embraced the vibrancy of university life: “I am loving uni. In addition to financial support to live on campus, Nura Gili offered me an instant network of new friends, a quiet place to study and access to tutors whenever I need some extra support to get on top of my studies.

“The University genuinely wants to see us succeed.”

Nura Gili director, Associate Professor Reuben Bolt, is also grateful to the Origin Foundation for the scholarship. “It’s through support such as this that UNSW is able to offer one of the best tertiary study environments in Australia for Indigenous students,” he said.

The philanthropic Origin Foundation supports education programs that help young Australians achieve, including programs that create equality of educational opportunity for Indigenous students.